Lexington, Ky. – The No. 21 Transylvania volleyball team received another all-around performance from Hannah Talkers and her season-high 52 assists to finish off the Hanover College Panthers in four sets Wednesday night at the Beck Center.
Talkers, who became the program's all-time career assists leader last Saturday in the Pioneers' previous win at Bluffton, added to her 3,500 career assists while combining with Ellie Stigger and her 21 kills to give the Pioneers a 25-16, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21 win over their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference rivals.
Transylvania improved to 4-0 in HCAC play as the Pioneers continued their perfect 5-0 start to the month of October while sharpening their overall record to 19-4. The Panthers suffered their first loss of conference play to fall to 2-1 in the HCAC and 13-8 overall.
The Pioneers weathered a tough challenge all evening long from the potent Panthers, who put together timely runs to force a pair of tight middle sets. Hanover issued the first blow of the night by claiming a 9-7 lead but the Pioneers scored five straight points to surge ahead, 12 to 9. An ace from Sylvie Miller lifted Transylvania to a 16-11 advantage in the first set. Stigger, meanwhile, heated up with a right-sided line drive to push the Pioneers towards a 23-13 outlook before capturing the opener, 25-16.
Transylvania opened up the match with eight blocks in the first set before Hanover began to find its rhythm in the second set. The Pioneers built an 11-6 cushion but Hanover embarked on an 11-6 scoring run to tie up the second set at 17-all. The teams battled to a 23-23 tie in the second set, leading to a kill by Jordan Horne and an ensuing failed return by the Panthers, giving the Pioneers a two sets to none lead.
The third set featured an opposite effect as the Pioneers emerged from a 16-16 tie to grab a 20-16 lead behind an ace from Abby Wills and the one-person wrecking crew of Stigger, who tallied two kills and a block during the mini-run. The Pioneers worked their way to a 23-21 lead off a kill from Joie Porter but the Panthers rebounded with a four-point swing of their own to shock the Pioneers for a 25-23 third-set win, keeping the match alive.
The Pioneers fought off nine errors in the final set with a heavy dose of offense to the tune of 18 kills to clinch the four-set victory. The Pioneers shored up their defense, meanwhile, limiting the Panthers to just eight kills in the final set. Back-to-back kills late in the set by Hannah Talkers gave the Pios an 18-10 advantage as they put away the Panthers for a 25-21 fourth-set victory.
Talkers' final line consisted of 52 assists, 12 digs, two blocks, and five kills while Stigger logged five total blocks and two digs in addition to her 21 kills. Each player's individual attacking percentage surpassed .360 on Wednesday.
Horne was the other Pioneer to hit double figures in kills with 12, along with three blocks and a dig. Sylvie Miller and Hadley Trenaman anchored the defensive response with 21 and 20 digs, respectively.
The Pioneers will next play on Saturday, October 19 as they host HCAC opponent Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, presenting the first matchup between the teams since their noteworthy HCAC Tournament Championship match last November that went to the Engineers in four sets.
The opening serve between Transylvania and Rose-Hulman is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. from the Beck Center.
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