Terre Haute, Ind. – The Transylvania volleyball team opened up Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play on Saturday afternoon with a 25-16, 25-19, 25-23 setback against the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin' Engineers on Saturday afternoon at Hulbert Arena.
The Pioneers dropped to 6-9 overall, and 0-1 in HCAC play following Saturday's contest while the Engineers moved to 12-8 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
Playing in their first conference home game of the season, the Engineers took hold of the first set, building a 13-6 lead midway through the set. The Pioneers began finding their footing as junior defensive specialist Rian Boelter came up with an ace following an impactful kill from junior setter Hannah Talkers to slice Rose-Hulman's advantage to 18-13. Rose-Hulman responded with a mini-scoring run to wrap up the first set with a nine-point win off of a .345 hitting percentage.
The Pioneers grabbed their first semblance of momentum of the day to begin the second set as junior right side hitter Jordan Horne levied an early kill, followed by another kill from Talkers and an ace from junior libero Sarah Shivley as the Pioneers kept the score close early.
After the Pioneers fought Rose-Hulman to an 11-10 deficit, the Engineers went on a sizable run to amass a 21-13 advantage before winning 25-19 in the second set for a two sets to none lead against the Pioneers.
Undeterred, the Pioneers opened up the third set by scoring the first three points to nurse a two to three point lead throughout the first half of the set. After a kill from Horne, the score stood at 11-8 in favor of visiting Transylvania.
Rose-Hulman then responded by scoring six of the next seven points to go on top, 14-12. The Pioneers used kills from sophomore outside hitter Kelsey Billingsley and Talkers to reclaim the lead at 15-14.
The lead changed hands multiple times down the stretch as another kill from Billingsley put the Pioneers ahead at 23-22. After the Engineers called for time, the Engineers returned upon their home court and executed successfully by scoring the last three points of the set to take the match in three.
The Pioneers' best offensive production came in the third and final set, racking up a .318 hitting percentage to .250 for the Engineers in the set.
Talkers led the Pioneers with 27 assists while Horne had a match-high 15 kills. Defensive specialist Abby Wills had a team-high 12 digs.
Transylvania's road stint continues next Wednesday, October 3 as the Pioneers pay a visit to Hanover College to take on the Panthers at 7:00 p.m. in their second game of the 2018 HCAC slate.
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