Westerville, Ohio – The No. 18 Transylvania volleyball team had its program-record 12-match win streak snapped on Saturday afternoon by the University of Mount Union Purple Raiders in the first match of a nonconference doubleheader at the Rike Center. The Raiders took a four-set victory against the Pioneers before Transylvania responded with a thrilling three-set win against Otterbein to finish off the day.
Transylvania now stands at 14-3 on the season while Mount Union improved to 15-3 after quad-match action in Westerville. Otterbein took its third loss of the season against Transylvania to shift its record to 14-3.
The Pioneers began the day with a 21-25, 25-16, 17-25, 20-25 loss against Mount Union to suffer their first loss since the opening weekend of the 2019 season. Mount Union delivered 16 kills to just three errors to set the tone for the match. Transylvania bounced back with 17 kills in the second set for their lone victory of the match, a convincing 25-16 victory.
In the third set, the Raiders built a 9-5 cushion that the Pioneers later cut to two points at 11-9. The Raiders then responded with a 6-0 scoring run to unleash a 17-9 lead for a third-set win and a 2-1 set lead.
The fourth set was contested tightly as the Pioneers answered back with a long scoring run of their own, reeling off eight straight points to capture a 16-10 advantage. Mount Union then struck back with another long run to pull within one point at 16-15 before a Raider error ended the run and put the Pioneers back in front by two points. The Raiders maintained their momentum, surging ahead 19-17 and used that run to finish off the set and match with a 25-20 win.
Ellie Stigger led the Pioneers with 12 kills and added two blocks. Jordan Horne matched Stigger with 12 kills of her own to go with four digs. Hannah Talkers led all players with 35 assists while producing 15 digs and four kills.
Transylvania rebounded from the stunning loss with a resilient performance in the nightcap against the host team Otterbein, capturing a 25-15, 26-24, 26-24 triumph.
The Pioneers completed their most precise set of the day to pick up a sizable 25-15 opening-set victory behind a 13 kill to one error ratio, good for a .429 attacking percentage. Stigger led the charge with six kills in the opening set en route to a match-high 19 kills.
The relatively easy set for the Pioneers paved the way for a challenging tussle the rest of the afternoon.
Otterbein jumped out to a 5-1 advantage in the second set before the Pioneers again rallied back to take an 8-7 lead led by a flurry of well-placed shots by Stigger. Transylvania kept up its hot hitting, using an ace from Kori Rudolph and another kill by Stigger to take their largest lead of the set at 19-14. Otterbein swung back to tie up the set at 22-22 and took the lead at 23-22 on a Transy error. Otterbein then returned the favor on a service error followed by an attacking error as the Pioneers went ahead, 24-23.
The Cardinals levied a kill to tie the second set at 24-all, but Horne brought forth two consecutive kills to finish out a 26-24 win.
The final set offered much of the same as the second set as the Cardinals were the ones to forge a 19-14 lead. Transylvania created the mirroring comeback, fighting its way to a 22-22 score after Stigger sent home another kill.
Stigger gained her 18th kill of the match for a 24-23 Transy lead and served for match point. Though the Pioneer committed a service error, leading to a 24-all tie, Otterbein followed up with a service error of their own, translating to a 24-24 tie. Stigger's final kill of the day put the Pioneers in the driver's seat with a 25-24 advantage. Taryn Glass finished off the match with a targeted delivery for Transylvania's second consecutive 26-24 set win, bringing a difficult match to a sudden close.
Horne finished the match with eight kills while Glass added seven. Sylvie Miller led the Pioneers with 19 digs in the win while Talkers amassed 37 assists, eight digs, four kills, and two blocks.
The Pioneers complete their weekend of play tomorrow in a Top 25 matchup against the Muskingum University Muskies. Transylvania visits the No. 25 nationally-ranked Muskies in New Concord, Ohio at 12 p.m. Eastern time.
For more on Transylvania volleyball, follow @TransylvaniaWVB on Twitter