LEXINGTON, Ky.- An Illinois Wesleyan rally in the fourth set helped the Titans top the Transylvania University volleyball team, 3-2, Friday in the first of three weekend matches Friday at the Beck Center.
Illinois Wesleyan won by scores of 25-16, 21-25, 23-25, 25-18 and 15-10.
The Titans capitalized off the Pioneers' slow start, taking the first set after building a seven point lead. However, Erin Romito and Madison Lovern led the potent Transylvania offense as the Pioneers stormed to take the next two sets.
The Pioneers took a commanding 17-10 lead in the second set on their way to a 25-21 win to tie the match at one apiece. The Titans pulled within two at 18-16, but a kill from Lovern helped hold off the Titan rally and gave the Pioneers the momentum they needed.
The momentum carried into the third set, but not without a challenge from the Titans. Transylvania built an early lead before the Titans tied at 10 and added two more thanks to back-to-back kills from Maddie Greybar. Illinois Wesleyan extended its lead to 17-12, before a kill from Tricia Moffatt broke the Titans' momentum and helped switch favor to the home team.
Transylvania outscored the Titans 12-6 following Moffatt's kill, including four kills from Lovern and two from Romito. Tied at 23, Romito drilled one of her 16 kills in the match to give the Pioneers the serve. Romito, then, placed her serve just out of reach of the Titans for one of her four service aces in the match to give the Pioneers the set.
Although close, the final two sets didn't fare in favor of the home team. Countless lengthy rallies shifted back-and-forth in favor of both teams, as they were tied at 14. However, the Titans outscored the Pioneers 11-4 to force the fifth and deciding set.
Illinois Wesleyan took the first point of the set, as the teams traded points. A kill from Becca Bryans pulled the Pioneers within one at 10-9, but the Titans held off home-standing Transylvania taking the fifth set, 15-10.
Romito and Lovern each tallied 16 kills, in the loss, to lead the Pioneer offense. Romito also logged 18 digs and four service aces. Erin Hoffman posted a team-high 20 digs.
The Pioneers face off against the Cardinals of Otterbein University at 12:30 Saturday and take on Asbury following Saturday's first match.