Crestview Hills, Ky. – Two dramatic sets went to the No. 5 Thomas More College Saints before they wrapped up a three-set victory against the Transylvania volleyball team on Friday night at the Connor Convocation Center.
Taking on the Saints for the second time in the 2018 season, the Pioneers arrived upon the campus of Thomas More aiming to upend the two-loss Saints who were coming off a five-set victory against the No. 1 nationally-ranked Calvin Knights.
The loss halted Transylvania's six-match winning streak as they fell to 12-10 on the year. Thomas More improved to 23-2 for the 2018 campaign.
The contest pitted a rematch between two teams who squared off last month in Lexington with Thomas More winning in five sets.
The first two sets on Friday took on the familiar tone of the fiercely-contested tenor of meeting number one in September. The Pioneers raised an 11-8 advantage following an error by the Saints' Jenna Mummert and continued to build their distance to 18-14 off a kill from junior middle blocker Adeline Tonn. Thomas More rallied with three straight kills from Carlee Lambert to eventually knot up the set at 20-all.
The pressure intensified with a series of lead changes and ties down the stretch as the two sides forged ties at 20-20, 21-21, 22-22, 23-23, 24-24, and 25-25. With the set heading into extended play, the Saints delivered an ace to go up 26-25. The Pioneers responded with a deft kill by junior setter Hannah Talkers to tie up the action at 26-all. Thomas More, however, answered back with two consecutive kills to wrap up a 28-26 victory in the first set.
Transylvania got off to an even better start in the second set and led 9-4 following a trio of errors by the Saints. But Thomas More went on another patented rally and tied up the set at 10-10 on an ace. Transylvania regained the lead at 12-10 via a kill from Talkers. For the rest of the set, neither team led by more than two points.
Identical to the first set, the second set in Crestview Hills witnessed ties on points 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24. The Saints prevailed by scoring the final three points of the set for a 26-24 win.
The Saints made the third set the final one as they broke free from the Pioneers after a 7-7 deadlock. The Saints reeled off four straight points for a 10-7 lead and stretched the advantage from there, eventually winning 25-18.
Transylvania committed fewer errors on the night than Thomas More by a count of 18 to 21, but the Saints registered kill totals of 17, 17, and 16 in each set for the offensive upper hand.
Junior right side hitter Jordan Horne led the Pioneers with 12 kills while Talkers paced the Pioneers with 27 assists and added five kills and 11 digs. Junior libero Abby Wills had a match-high 28 digs.
Independent of NCAA Tournament possibilities, Friday's meeting marked the last meeting between the Pioneers and Saints as NCAA Division III institutions. Thomas More is slated to begin playing in the NAIA and the Mid-South Conference beginning in the 2019-20 academic season.
Transylvania next plays on Wednesday, October 24, visiting the Mount St. Joseph University Lions at 7:00 p.m. The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference match will take place at the Harrington Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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