ATLANTA – The Transylvania volleyball team completed a four-match trek to the Emory National Tournament on Saturday afternoon with a three-set sweep of the Otterbein University Cardinals at the P.E. Woodruff Center.
The Pioneers grew stronger as the game grew longer, fending off the Cardinals 25-23 in the first set before scoring the final three points of set two for a 25-22 win, and pulling away with a 25-19 win in the third and final set for their first sweep of the season.
The Pioneers improved to 2-5 on the year as they completed another challenging weekend, this time six hours south of home base after opening up the season at home the previous weekend against three nationally-ranked teams.
After securing their first win of the season the day before against Oglethorpe, the Pioneers returned to play Saturday seeking one more victory before heading home.
The first set was a story of balanced offense as four different Pioneers each offered two or more kills. The Pioneers made big plays when they were needed, levying 13 kills to just three errors for the two-point win.
Transylvania's offensive precision cooled off in the second set, but the Pioneers powered their way to a tight victory through sheer tyranny of will. After opening up a 9-5 lead in the second set, Otterbein battled back to tie up the second set at 15-all before the Pioneers stretched out another lead at 20-17 off a kill from junior right side hitter Jordan Horne.
The Cardinals did not relent, forcing another even score at 22-22 after the Pioneers were unable to put away a kill. But Otterbein returned the favor with a service error to hand Transy a 23-22 advantage, and Otterbein endured an error-plagued finish to the set.
Much like the second set, the Pioneers forged another early lead in the third but unlike the second set, did not look back. Transylvania amassed 12 kills to only one error for one of its most flawless sets of the seven-match season. Junior setter Hannah Talkers put down one of her team-high nine kills to raise Transy's lead to 17-14 while senior outside hitter Jennifer Buckman and senior middle blocker Darby Bourdon joined in with late kills to extend Transylvania's lead. Talkers delivered the final kill of the afternoon for the 25-19 third-set victory and match final.
Talkers led the way with 22 assists along with her nine kills, providing three digs and four blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Ellie Stigger paced the Pioneers with nine blocks and six kills. Junior outside hitter Sarah Shivley led all players with 14 digs. The Pioneers delivered a season-high 22 blocks on Saturday despite playing only three sets.
The Pioneers return to gameplay on Tuesday, September 11 as they host the Berea College Mountaineers at the Beck Center in Lexington for a 7:00 p.m. nonconference match. Tickets for Tuesday's game are $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 5-17, and free for ages 4 and under.
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