The 20th-ranked Hope College volleyball team battled back from a 2-to-1 set deficit against Illinois Wesleyan University on Friday night in Bloomington, Illinois, and defeated the Titans in five sets, 25-22, 21-25, 19-25, 25-13, 15-9.
The Flying Dutch are now 8-3 while IWU drops to 0-10.
After closely contested battles in the first three sets, and then going down 6-7 in the fourth, Hope started to take command, going on a six-point run to 12-7, then a five-point run to 17-8. From there, Hope continue to maintain a lengthy point differential against the Titans to the set's 25-13 conclusion.
While the Flying Dutch tallied 10 service aces in total for the match, six of those aces helped fuel their dominance in that critical fourth set. Sophomore setter Tracy Westra of Clarendon Hills, Illinois (Timothy Christian HS) tallied two of her three aces in the set while sophomore McKenna Otto of Wheaton, Illinois (Wheaton North HS) recorded her two aces for the match.
In the fifth set, Hope and IWU played to a tight 6-5 Hope lead before the Flying Dutch went on a six-to-two-point jag, taking the score to 12-7. A kill by sophomore Ana Grunewald of Grand Rapids (East Grand Rapids HS), her 11th of the match, secured the victory.
Otto led the Flying Dutch in kills with 13. Freshman middle hitter Charlotte Brecht of Grosse Pointe Farms (Gross Pointe South HS) and sophomore outside hitter Rose Thompson of Coopersville (Unity Christian HS) added eight kills each.
In setting up those kills, Westra led with 23 assists while senior setter Adair Cutler of East Lansing (Lansing Christian HS) added 16.
Defensively, senior libero Gabbi Vachon of Grand Rapids (Jenison HS) recorded 23 digs while Grunewald tallied 13.
The Flying Dutch continue competition in the Illinois Wesleyan Holiday Inn Express Classic with matches on Saturday, September 21 against Aurora (Ill.) University at 12:30 p.m. Central and against Luther (Iowa) College at 3 p.m. Central.