Richmond, Ind. – The No. 21 Transylvania volleyball team captured a clutch three-set win against the Earlham College Quakers on Wednesday evening at Druley Performance Gymnasium to move to 2-0 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play.
Behind a 21-kill night from Ellie Stigger, the Pioneers held off Earlham 25-22, 25-20, 25-22, fending off gritty efforts in all three sets by the host Quakers to improve to 17-4 overall on the season. The Quakers dropped to 13-6 with the defeat.
Taking on one of three other teams who qualified for the semifinals of last season's Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, the Pioneers waged a back-and-forth battle with the Quakers which featured a plethora of ties and pendulum swings.
In the first set, the Pioneers stared at a 13-8 deficit before embarking on a 6-1 scoring run to force a 14-14 tie. The set included ties at every point until 20-20 before Jordan Horne posted one of her 12 kills on the night to craft a 21-20 advantage for the Pioneers.
Horne came up with another key kill down the stretch before Kori Rudolph completed the opening set with an ace for the 25th point.
Transy took an early lead in the second set, using a kill by Taryn Glass to surge to an 11-6 advantage. Glass rose again later in the set for another timely kill that kept the Pioneers ahead, 17-11. Stigger finished off the set with an array of domination, racking up the final four points of the set as the Pioneers accrued a 2-0 set lead.
The Pioneers continued their momentum from the previous set in the third, building a 5-1 lead as Stigger continued to find the spots against Earlham's defense. Earlham rallied back from an 11-7 deficit to grab a 15-12 lead as the Quakers gained their first dose of momentum in a set and a half. The Pioneers stayed close and received more kills from Stigger and back-to-back finishes by Glass to slice Earlham's lead to 18-17.
Earlham created additional breathing room as the home team went up, 20-17. But Horne delivered two more kills sandwiched around a Quaker error to suddenly tie the third set at 20-20.
With the set later tied at 22-all, Joie Porter delivered a go-ahead kill and Ellie Stigger put the Pioneers in position for match point with her 21st kill of the night. The Quakers were unable to return the final attack of the night as the Pioneers closed out their second set of the evening by a three-point margin.
Transylvania continues HCAC play on Saturday, October 12 at the Bluffton University Beavers. The opening serve between Bluffton and Transylvania is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. from Copeland Court.
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