Transylvania volleyball pushes #11 Thomas More to brink before bowing in five

Pioneers huddling

Lexington, Ky. – Taking the No. 11 Thomas More College Saints to the wire in a Saturday afternoon thriller, the Transylvania volleyball team fell in its first five-set match of the year 25-19, 23-25, 20-25, 25-16, 15-8 at the Beck Center.

Aiming for its first victory of the season against a top-25 nationally-ranked opponent, the Pioneers clinched the first set of the day before seeing a slim lead go by the wayside in the second set as the Saints fought their way back. The Saints seized momentum with a five-point win in the third set before the Pioneers answered back with a nine-point win in the fourth set. Thomas More used an early 5-1 lead to finish off Transylvania for an arduous victory going away.

The Pioneers fell to 5-8 following Saturday's match while the Saints moved to 13-1 for the 2018 campaign.

Transylvania opened the game roaring out of the blocks with a .379 hitting percentage. Junior Hannah Talkers levied four kills in the first set as an aggressive Pioneers squad won by six points over Thomas More.

The Pioneers continued their upset bid into the second set. After falling behind 4-0, the Pioneers quickly rallied back to tie up the set at 5-all. Through the rest of the set, neither team was able to hold a lead of more than two points. After Talkers set up senior outside hitter Jennifer Buckman for a kill, Transylvania held a 22-20 advantage over Thomas More. But the Saints rallied to score five of the final six points in the set to stun the Pioneers for a 25-23 victory.

Thomas More controlled the third set, building another slim early lead that they would not relinquish. The Saints left nothing to chance as they converted 16 kills to only three errors for a 25-20 victory to take a two sets to one lead.

Transylvania appeared comfortable and aggressive in the fourth set as the home team went on a pair of late long rallies. With junior defensive specialist Abby Wills holding serve, the Pioneers reeled off three consecutive points to go up on Thomas More 21-13. Buckman came up with another clutch kill to finish off the set, 25-16.

Thomas More got off to a sizable start in the fifth and final set as their return game shifted into high gear. Crafting a 5-1 lead, the Saints reached a comfortable distance ahead of the Pioneers as they took back momentum to finish the match.

Talkers registered a season-high 13 assists to go with 12 digs and eight kills. Horne produced a season-high 16 kills while Buckman added 15 kills and 10 digs. Junior libero Sarah Shivley set a career-best with 22 digs to lead the Pioneers.

Transylvania returns to play on Wednesday, September 26 as the Pioneers pay a visit to the Centre College Colonels in Danville, Kentucky. First serve between the bluegrass archrivals is set for 7:00 p.m. from Alumni Gymnasium.

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