Pioneers fall to HCAC leader in four sets

Pioneers fall to HCAC leader in four sets

LEXINGTON, Ky.- Franklin College escaped with a 3-1 win, as the Transylvania University volleyball team battled the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference leader in an intense and fiery match Wednesday at the Beck Center.

The Grizzlies narrowly edged the Pioneers taking three sets by scores of 25-20, 13-25, 25-22, and 25-22.

The Pioneers set the tone early, making it evident they were less than impressed with Franklin's resume thus far. Franklin entered Wednesday's match atop the conference standings with a 4-0 record in conference play. Transylvania took the match's first two points on a kill and a service ace from Erin Romito before extending the lead to 5-1 as the offensive attack was nearly perfect.

Transylvania kept Franklin in check building another five-point advantage at 17-12. The Grizzlies, however, continued to press and with a couple close calls in their favor evened the score at 19, before taking six of the set's final seven points to gain a 1-0 lead in the match.

The Pioneers cruised to a second set win that saw five Transylvania service aces. Berkleigh Brogan opened the second set with one of 12 Transylvania service aces in the match to put the Pioneers up 1-0 and sparked a controlling set. The Pioneers found the open space on the floor keeping the Franklin defense on its heels. Transylvania racked up an 11-point lead, 18-7, before the Grizzlies took four straight points. Transylvania responded and fended off Franklin to go on to a 25-13 win.

With the score even at one set apiece, the intensity raised in the third set. The teams traded points, and the lead, as neither team could pull ahead for long. Transylvania took a 22-21 lead thanks to a Romito kill, but the point was overturned giving the Grizzlies the lead on their way their second set.

The final set was much the same as the Pioneers refused to back down. Trailing 4-3, the Pioneers took five straight capped by a Madison Lovern kill to gain an 8-4 lead. The Pioneers kept the lead until the Grizzlies pulled ahead, 16-15, before taking four straight points.

Transylvania, as it had all night, answered the call with its back against the wall. Once again, Lovern delivered a timely kill to end the Grizzly run, helping the Pioneers to four straight of their own to even the line at 19.

Franklin's Brooke Harvey delivered to consecutive kills to pull away, 22-20, before holding off the Pioneers in the deciding set.

Romito posted a match-high 16 kills, along with 12 digs and two block assists. Lovern added nine kills in the loss.  

Transylvania (9-15, 2-4 HCAC ) travels to Rose-Hulman Oct. 18 for another HCAC match. Saturday's match is scheduled for 3 p.m.