ATLANTA – The Transylvania volleyball team claimed its first victory of the 2018 season on Friday afternoon, timestamping a milestone moment for the program's history as the Pioneers defeated the Oglethorpe University Stormy Petrels in four sets.
After starting the season 0-4 against four teams all currently ranked in the top 25, the Pioneers topped Oglethorpe 25-16, 21-25, 25-16, and 27-25 for the first head coaching victory of first-year head coach Amy Barmore's career.
Barmore, who served as the head assistant coach to Kyle Walton for the past four years, gained her first victory in the second day of the Emory National Tournament. After the Pioneers were sent back by No. 8 Emory in Thursday's tournament opener, the Pioneers bounced back against the Stormy Petrels, using a scintillating first set to march forward to victory.
Transylvania turned around later on Friday and played four tight sets against the Whitworth University Pirates of Spokane, Washington, falling in a four-set match that saw three of four sets decided by three points or fewer.
Transylvania now sits at 1-5 on the season as the Pioneers look ahead to the final day of tournament action in Atlanta with a match against Otterbein University at 1:30 p.m. eastern time.
A sparkling Friday afternoon match against Oglethorpe was catalyzed by a nearly perfect first set in which the Pioneers generated 11 kills to just one error for an attacking percentage of .435 as Transylvania won the first set by 10 points.
Oglethorpe erased a four-point deficit in the second set to come back and beat the Pioneers, 25-21 as Transylvania committed seven errors.
The Pioneers made amends in the third set and registered 16 kills as they changed a 4-4 tie into a 15-6 advantage to cruise to a 25-16 win.
The fourth set featured the highest amount of drama in the afternoon as it was tight throughout. Transylvania went ahead 11-6, but Oglethorpe swung back, tying the set at 14-all as neither team was able to lead by more than two points until the final score was reached. The Stormy Petrels served for set point with a 24-23 advantage, but couldn't get the ball across the net on an attack.
Transylvania then served for match point at 25-24 but a service error prolonged the match to force a tie game once again. But junior right side hitter Jordan Horne came up with two masterful kills to end the match with a 27-25 to seal up Transy's first win of the season.
Junior setter Hannah Talkers had an all-around performance with a match-high 33 assists, 15 digs, and 11 kills. Sophomore middle blocker Ellie Stigger posted a match-best 14 kills, five digs, and five blocks. Sophomore defensive specialist Kori Rudolph set the pace with a team-high 16 digs as three different players hit double-digits in digs; junior libero Abby Wills added 15 digs and five of Transy's eight aces.
Transylvania hoped to harness the success from the afternoon into the evening match with Whitworth and early on, it appeared that would be the case. The Pioneers squeezed out a thrilling 25-23 first set win as they forced the Pirates into nine errors.
Both Transy and Whitworth journeyed along closely with one another deep into the second set before the Pirates broke an 18-18 tie and scored seven of the set's final 11 points to hold off the Pioneers with a 25-22 win and tie up the match.
The third set was played just as closely as the first two as the Pioneers trailed Whitworth for most of the set. But after trailing by as much as five points multiple times in the set, the Pioneers clawed back to finally tie up the set at 25-25 as Stigger came up with a key block. But Whitworth was not deterred and found two consecutive points to put away the set with a 27-25 win.
The fourth set featured another close affair as the Pioneers battled to a 20-20 tie with Whitworth behind an ace from senior outside hitter Jennifer Buckman. But the Pirates took advantage of a series of errors by Transylvania down the stretch to close out the match, 25-20.
Buckman led the way in the second match of the day with 10 kills and added five digs in the process. Wills produced a match-high 28 digs while Talkers added a high volume in multiple categories with a team-high 28 assists, 22 digs, six kills, and two blocks.
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