Bluffton, Ohio – After sealing up an excruciating victory just the evening before, the Transylvania volleyball team dropped a straight-set decision to the Bluffton University Beavers with a 3-0 setback on Saturday afternoon at the Sommer Center.
The Pioneers went 1-1 on its quick weekend road trip through the state of Ohio, taking on two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opponents to move to 11-9 overall, and 3-2 in HCAC competition.
Facing a 1:00 p.m. start time after wrapping up the previous night's action after 9:00 p.m., the Pioneers endured a sluggish start as Bluffton pounced with a 25-13 set one victory. Bluffton delivered 16 kills to Transy's seven in the first set to build a comfortable lead.
Transylvania improved its gameplay as the afternoon aged. The Pioneers shot back with 11 kills in the second set against five team errors, but still, Bluffton crafted another happy advantage as it took a 17-11 lead midway through the set.
Reminiscent of their fourth set match-winning comeback on Friday night, the Pioneers began erasing the Bluffton lead by scoring four straight points. Three different Pioneers in freshmen Hannah Talkers and Jordan Horne, and senior Shelby Catlett chimed in with kills to aid the comeback. But Bluffton was able to stop the bleeding and came up with late kills of its own to capture the second set, 25-21.
The third set featured the kind of tight margin the Pioneers dealt with all Friday night; this time the Pioneers cultivated an early 10-5 lead and Bluffton took its turn to erase a deficit. The Beavers went on a 5-1 run to pull within one, and eventually take a 16-14 lead. The Beavers drew ahead, 21-18, but Talkers and freshmen Hannah Graff and Taryn Glass came up with big spikes to knot the game at 22-22.
The Beavers and Pioneers each reached deuce three more times as freshman Adeline Tonn delivered a kill for a 25-25 tie. While Bluffton seized a go-ahead point on the next rally, Tonn answered back again to tie the game at 26-all. But Bluffton scored two consecutive points to end the match with a 28-26 third-set win to improve to 15-7 on the year and close the door on the weekend.
Tonn led the Pioneers with 10 kills, and junior Marissa Coutinho had a team-high 18 digs. The Pioneers won the battle in the blocks department, as the Pioneers outblocked the Beavers 14 to 12.
With its conference season now halfway complete, the Pioneers return home for an HCAC matchup against Franklin on Wednesday, October 12 at the Beck Center. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m.
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