Cincinnati, Ohio – The Transylvania volleyball team inched closer to clinching the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season title with a momentum-laden three-set sweep of the Mount St. Joseph University Lions Wednesday night at the Harrington Center.
Rallying from three points down late in the first set, the Pioneers turned around a 26-24 victory in the first set on Wednesday before recording a 25-20 win in the second set and cruising out of town with a 25-10 win in the final set.
Transylvania improved to 13-10 overall and 7-1 in HCAC play with one conference match remaining on Saturday against Manchester University. The Lions fell to 9-15 overall and 2-6 in conference play.
The Pioneers entered the evening aiming to stay neck-and-neck with Rose-Hulman, which also entered the evening against Earlham College with a 6-1 conference record but held the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pioneers. With Rose-Hulman falling to Earlham on Wednesday in four sets, the Pioneers exited the night with sole possession of first place in the HCAC.
Transylvania staked its claim to begin the night before the rest of the set took a topsy-turvy direction. After the Lions took the opening point, Transylvania scored the next six straight to take a 6-1 lead and built its largest lead of the set at 9-1. The Lions then reeled off six consecutive points of their own to cut their deficit to 9-7, eventually clawing back to forge an 11-all tie.
Mount St. Joseph went on another run, grabbing a 22-17 lead. The Pioneers battled back to cut their newfound deficit to 23-20, but an error on the frontline put the Lions in a position to clinch set point.
Transylvania put together a blistering rally, scoring six unanswered points to take back the set with a 26-24 final. Junior right side hitter Jordan Horne was instrumental, producing three kills in the final six points to lead the comeback.
The Pioneers had 16 kills to six errors in the second to pull away for a 25-20 victory as they gained a chokehold on the match. The final set was one of Transylvania's most dominant of the season as the Pioneers won by a 15-point margin. The Lions were plagued in the final set with just five kills against 11 errors while the Pioneers were nearly perfect, registering 10 kills to only one error.
Junior setter Hannah Talkers led the Pioneers with 36 assists and four kills. Horne and sophomore middle blocker Ellie Stigger each had a match-high 13 kills apiece. Junior libero Abby Wills keyed the defense with a match-best 21 digs.
Transylvania will aim to secure its first conference regular-season title since 2012 when its hosts Manchester for Senior Day this Saturday, October 27 at 3:30 p.m. A win would give the Pioneers their first outright HCAC regular-season title in program history.
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