By Caleb Scott
ADA — The Ohio Northern volleyball team opened the 2016 season with victories over Trine (Ind.) and No. 19-ranked Illinois Wesleyan at the 38th Annual ONU Invitational Friday evening at the ONU Sports Center.
The Polar Bears move to 2-0 on the year, while Trine and Ohio Wesleyan dropped to 0-1.
Northern opened the tournament with a 25-11, 25-10, 25-6 victory over Trine (Ind.).
Senior Ashley Borchers posted a game-high 25 assists in the three set sweep.
Senior Claire Heitkamp added nine kills for the Polar Bears.
ONU got off to a hot start as it jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first set.
After allowing the Thunder to get within 8-7, Northern would close the first set on a 17-4 run to win set one 25-11.
After jumping out to a 9-5 lead in the second set, the Polar Bears would quickly extend the lead with a 4-0 run after taking advantage of three Trine errors.
In set three, Northern would get an early 11-4 lead before going on a 9-0 spurt behind three kills from Heitkamp and Bapst, respectively.
Northern would close the third set out and win 25-6 to earn their first victory of the season.
In game two, the Polar Bears were led by freshman Chelsea Huppert, as she posted a team-high 15 kills.
Bapst added 14 kills for the Polar Bears, while Borchers posted a game-high 42 assists and added a team-high 14 digs.
Junior Megan Nieszala and Hostetler also added 13 digs for Northern.
After being tied 7-7 in the first set, Northern used a 5-0 run to push the lead to 12-7. The Polar Bears wouldn't look back as they went on to win that set 25-15.
After falling behind 6-5 in the second set, the Polar Bears would use a 4-0 run to regain the lead and hold onto to it to win set two 25-22.
Illinois Wesleyan would come back from being down by as many as six in the third set to win 25-21.
The Titans were able to keep the fourth set tight before Northern closed the set out on a 5-1 run to win and improve to 2-0.
The Polar Bears will return to action Saturday as they play host to Ohio Wesleyan at 11 am in the ONU Sports Center.