Lexington, Ky. – A marathon for the Transylvania volleyball team on day two of the Transylvania Invitational began with impressive efficiency and ended with grueling heartbreak Saturday at the Beck Center.
In the morning opener, the Pioneers coasted past the Bowdoin College Polar Bears in three sets. Following two more contests waged by Invitational visitors, the Pioneers fought the Heidelberg University Student Princes, eventually enduring a five-set loss.
Transylvania moved to 9-5 overall after a 1-2 weekend in which it lost to No. 4 nationally-ranked Emory University the night before. The busy weekend of volleyball serves as the final home tune-up for Transylvania prior to opening up conference play in one week against Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
The Pioneers passed a defensive test in a 25-20, 25-21, 27-25 victory against Bowdoin. Three different players for Transylvania hit double-digits in digs, including senior libero Marissa Coutinho (team-high 20), sophomore setter Hannah Talkers (13), and sophomore defensive specialist Abby Wills (11). Transylvania out-dug Bowdoin 63 to 55 for the morning.
In the first set, Bowdoin was hindered into a -.026 hitting percentage, and a .115 hitting percentage in the third and final set.
The offense was guided by Talkers, who had a match-high 32 assists, and falling just short of a triple-double with nine kills, and sophomore right side hitter Jordan Horne, who had 15 kills and an ace.
The afternoon match featured a cornucopia of entertainment and drama as the Pioneers and Student Princes went back-and-forth, squeezing out wins by the thinnest of margins. After Heidelberg grabbed a 25-20 first set victory, Transylvania answered with a 26-24 win in the second set after forcing Heidelberg into committing 11 errors.
In the third set, the Pioneers pulled out another clutch victory, this time winning 25-23 off a team-best 15 kills in the middle set.
Transylvania and Heidelberg forged late into the fourth set with the match up for grabs. After a 22-22 tie, Heidelberg won three of the next four points to clinch the 25-23 win and force the deciding fifth set.
The Student Princes took control of the fifth set early, taking leads of 8-5 and 9-7. But the Pioneers rallied one last time to force a 13-13 deadlock. But as they did in the fourth sets, Heidelberg scored twice to grab the 15-13 fifth set win.
Horne offered a monster performance in defeat, registering a career-high 22 kills. Freshman middle blocker Ellie Stigger also notched a career-high in kills with 18 in the afternoon match. Talkers also set a season-high in assists with 52.
Transylvania heads to Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio on Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. That meeting between the Pioneers and the Quakers marks the final nonconference match of the season until the final week of gameplay for the Pios.
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