Maryville, Tenn. – The No. 18 Transylvania volleyball team grew its program-record winning streak to 12 matches with a 25-19, 21-25, 22-25, 25-10, 15-9 victory over the Maryville College Scots on Wednesday night at Baird Gymnasium.
Transylvania weathered an all-out challenge from the host Scots, who built a 2-1 set lead before the Pioneers roared back to win the final two sets to move to 13-2 on the season. Maryville dropped to 8-6 overall following the nonconference matchup.
Ellie Stigger led the way with a monster offensive performance, logging 19 kills against just two errors for a .436 attacking percentage; the junior middle blocker also produced six blocks in the victory.
Hannah Talkers delivered another all-around effort with team-highs of 41 assists and 21 digs while adding five kills in a clutch victory for the Pioneers.
After completing a three-match homestand last week, the Pioneers took to the road on Wednesday to begin a weeklong slate of matches away from Lexington before the start of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play next week.
Stigger came out firing for the Pioneers with a perfect six kill to zero error ratio in the first set. The Pioneers gradually pushed along their lead to eight points in the first set before Maryville answered back with committed defense. But the Pioneers displayed their sheer power as Stigger ended a long rally for the 22nd point of the set with a sweeping right-side kill on the way to a 25-19 set-one victory.
The Pioneers had to contend with a relentless Scots defense in the second set as the home team took leads of 13-12 and 16-15. The Scots grew momentum as they broke a 19-19 tie with a 4-0 run to quickly put the set out of reach.
The Scots continued their high level of home play in the third set, forcing the Pioneers into a .105 attacking percentage, their lowest of any of the five sets as they grew another helpful lead midway through the set. Maryville built its lead to 14-8 before the Pioneers spent the rest of the set chipping away.
The Pioneers eventually drew within a point at 22-21 on a kill from Joie Porter, but a Pioneer service error and an ensuing kill by the Scots finished off the set in their favor, 25-22.
Undeterred, Transylvania shook off the effects of the past two sets, beginning the fourth set with renewed vigor and aggression to take a 5-1 lead. The Scots stopped a brief scoring run for the Pioneers, who led 13-8, before Transylvania swung back with its most poignant series of the night by scoring the next eight points for a 21-8 upper hand. The Pioneers would not look back the rest of the evening as they sewed up the fourth set, 25-10 to force the decisive fifth set.
Transylvania rocketed to a 7-0 lead to begin the fifth set, flummoxing the Scots. Maryville responded with two consecutive points, but the Pioneers scored four straight points for an 11-2 lead. Emmie Bender and Talkers leveled kills to close out a hard-fought match for the Pioneers as they claimed their second five-set win of the season.
The Pioneers are next in action on Saturday, September 28 as they head to Westerville, Ohio on the campus of Otterbein University for a weekend doubleheader. The Pioneers will take on the University of Mount Union Purple Raiders at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time followed by a match with the Otterbein University Cardinals at 4:30 p.m.
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