Dragons Upset #21 Wheeling Jesuit

The Dragons put an end to Wheeling Jesuit's 108 match home winning streak on Tuesday night, defeating the #21 Cardinals in four sets.
The Dragons put an end to Wheeling Jesuit's 108 match home winning streak on Tuesday night, defeating the #21 Cardinals in four sets.

Ding dong the streak is dead, the Dragons have beaten the Wheeling Jesuit University Cardinals 3-1, ending the 108 match home winning streak. The Tiffin University volleyball team did something no other team has done since October of 2012, defeat Wheeling Jesuit University on their home turf. Tiffin upended the #21 Cardinals, ending the 108 match home winning streak and current 23 match win streak. It's the first home loss for the Cardinals since October 2, 2012, and their first loss this season since September 9.

The Dragons showed no fear as they walked into an environment where 108 previous opponents left with a loss. Tiffin went tick-for-tack, trading points with the Cardinals. Tiffin, holding a slight 6-4 lead, used a 10-5 run to hold a 16-9 lead. Tiffin never let the Cardinals off the mat, rolling to a 25-14 set one win. Tiffin logged 18 kills and a .400 hitting percentage while holding Wheeling Jesuit to 10 kills and a .136 hitting percentage.

The second set was close throughout the early stages with the two teams drawing even at 13-13. The Cardinals used a 9-1 run to take control of the set on their way to a 25-19 win. Tiffin still had a great set at the net, posting 14 kills and a .294 hitting percentage. The Cardinals were a bit better, finishing with 15 kills and a .353 hitting percentage.

The 3rd set was a marathon for both sides, but for one of the teams it was demoralizing, and for the other it was invigorating. Tiffin played from behind for the vast majority of the set, and at one point were behind by eight points. Trailing 18-10, Tiffin fought back with a 10-2 run to tie the score 20-20. After tying the score, Tiffin and Wheeling Jesuit traded punches all the way to the end. With the set tied 30-30, the Dragons took a 31-30 lead thanks to an Amanda Curry kill. Tiffin won the set on an attack error by the Cardinals, their 9th of the set. The Dragons collected 22 kills in the set, and defensively held the Cardinals to a .156 hitting percentage.

With Tiffin having all the momentum and a 2-1 lead in sets, the Dragons knew the 4th set was going to be a battle. The turning point in the 4th set came with the score tied 8-8. Tiffin dug in and found the run needed to break the Cardinals, using a 13-7 scamper to take a 21-15 advantage. With the lead in hand and victory in sight, Tiffin finished off the Cardinals and their streak as they cruised to a 25-17 victory.

The win is the first for Tiffin over a ranked opponent since the program began competing at the NCAA Division II level. The Cardinals, sitting 21st in the AVCA and 1st in the Atlantic Region, suffer only their 29th loss since 2011. 

The Dragons had numerous stars, with Jenna Huffman leading the pack with a season high 20 kills. Jenna added 11 digs, four assisted blocks, and posted a .514 hitting percentage. Danielle Hicks chipped in with 14 kills, her seventh match with at least 14 kills. Sydney Gilland finished with 13 kills, tying a season high. Amanda Curry was the final Dragon with double digit kills, logging 10. Taylor Lattimore made it a record breaking night, finishing with 29 digs to move to 2nd all-time in career digs at Tiffin and moved to 30th all-time in the NCAA Division II record book in career digs. 

Coach Shauna Hurles was very proud of her team's play. "The girls came ready to play tonight," she said. "They had something to prove and they executed. They gutted it out in game 3 after losing game 2, and then in the 4th set they finished with some authority. It was an awesome team win! Now we have one more game to take care of before we move on to tournament play. Special congratulations to Taylor Lattimore as well. She has been a model of consistency for our program."

The Dragons move to 19-12 overall and with one more win can become the first Tiffin team to reach 20 wins since the 2006 season. Tiffin will be back in action on Saturday, hosting Ashland University for senior day.