Pioneers mince few words with Earlham in four-set home win

Pioneers mince few words with Earlham in four-set home win

Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania volleyball team wrapped up its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference season-opening homestand with a 3-1 match victory over the visiting Earlham College Quakers at the Beck Center on Wednesday night.

Transylvania improved to 2-1 in HCAC competition, and 10-8 in its overall campaign.

The Pioneers threw a flurry of firepower at the Quakers in the first set to glide to a 25-15 opening-set win. Transylvania left nothing to chance down the stretch as it took an 18-13 lead and scored five consecutive points to put the first set out of reach.

Earlham countered in the second set as the serving team quickly asserted a 4-0 lead and never looked back. The Quakers had a team-high 12 kills in the second set against just two errors to launch forward into a 1-1 match tie.

Transylvania reasserted itself in the third set with another quick start reminiscent of the first set. Two early kills from freshmen Hannah Graff and Sarah Shivley boosted the Pioneers to a momentous run.

With a 5-4 lead, the Pioneers scored six of the next seven points to claim a comfortable distance at 11 to 5. Transylvania later grew the lead to 11 after freshman Jordan Horne and Graff combined to block away a netside attack by Earlham.

A kill from freshman Hannah Talkers concluded the third set as the Pioneers won, 25-14 and reclaimed a match lead at two sets to one.

While the fourth set was tighter than the third, drama remained down the stretch. The Pioneers crafted a three-point lead in the heart of the set at 15-12. Graff and Shivley teamed up for a denial at the net for another Transy point to build a four-point advantage.

Earlham refused to fold as the set went on, and pulled within two at 21-19. But Horne responded with a diagonal kill and Graff followed suit with another putaway as the Pios increased their control upon the match.

A one-handed kill from Talkers placed the Pioneers in position for set point; as Earlham ramped up for its final attack, the lob was denied by Shivley and Graff within the line of play and Transylvania sealed up the match with a 25-20 fourth-set win.

Horne led the Pioneers in kills with 12 on the night, and senior Shelby Catlett also reached double-figures in kills with 10. Reigning consecutive HCAC Defensive Player of Week winner, junior Marissa Coutinho continued her defensive mastery with a match-best 22 digs. Talkers nearly notched a volleyball version of a triple-double with seven kills, 35 assists, and 20 digs.

Aside from the second set, it was a spick and span match for the Pioneers, who committed just 19 errors on the evening, and no more than five in any set.

After completing their longest homestand of the season at three straight games, the Pioneers will set sail north for the weekend as they face Defiance on Friday, September 7 at 7:00 p.m., followed by a Saturday matinee at Franklin, scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

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