Hanover, Ind. – The Transylvania volleyball team picked up a crucial and thrilling conference victory on Wednesday evening, defeating the Hanover College Panthers in five sets at Collier Arena.
After dropping the first set to Hanover 25-16, the Pioneers rebounded with a 25-11 victory in set two, and pulled out a clutch 25-23 win in the third set before Hanover struck back with a 25-19 win in the fourth set. Transylvania roared out of Hanover with a 15-5 win to claim its first victory of the young Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference season.
The Pioneers evened their HCAC record to 1-1 and 7-9 overall with the inspiring win which featured a dominant final set featuring seven kills to no errors by the visitors. Hanover dropped to 1-2 in conference play and 8-9 overall.
Transylvania returned the favor to Hanover in their lone regular season meeting of the year after falling to the Panthers in Lexington in a classic five-setter nearly one year to the day on Wednesday. In the previous season's matchup, the Pioneers dropped a tight two-point decision in the fifth set after forcing on October 4, 2017.
On Wednesday night, the Pioneers left nothing to chance in the fifth set.
The midweek conference saga was set in motion with a tremendous second set by the Pioneers as they bounced back from a nine-point loss in the opening set by registering 14 kills to just two errors for a .414 hitting percentage to equalize the match at 1-1.
The third set was an instant classic as both sides fought to the bitter end. With the set tied at 21-21, junior right side hitter Jordan Horne put away a kill on a setup from junior setter Hannah Talkers to take a 22-21 advantage. Transylvania scored two more points to go ahead 24-21. Hanover pulled within one point again but Horne came up with one final kill in the set to push the Pioneers ahead, two sets to one.
Transylvania spent much of the fourth set trailing Hanover, nearly rallying back from a seven-point deficit to cut Hanover's advantage to 21-19 after a kill by junior outside hitter Adeline Tonn. But Hanover quelled the Transy rally by scoring the final four points of the set to force the deciding set.
The Pioneers seized momentum immediately in the fifth set as Hanover commenced it with a service error, followed by an ace from freshman setter Lauren Herbert to build an instant 2-0 lead. Though the Panthers would score the next two points, senior outside hitter Jennifer Buckman delivered a go-ahead kill that put the Pios ahead for good.
Transylvania spread its wings, ending the match on a 13-3 scoring run, including the final six points to take the final set by storm. Sophomore middle blocker Ellie Stigger and Horne delivered finishing kills down the stretch to clinch the road victory for the Pioneers.
It was a divine night for team and individuals as Horne matched her career high in kills for the second time in three matches with a match-high 24 while adding five blocks. Talkers hit her season high in assists with a clean 50, while junior libero Abby Wills rang up a career-best 39 digs. Buckman added 13 kills and seven digs while Stigger brought forth 10 kills to one error, and four blocks.
Transylvania returns home on Saturday, October 6 to host the Anderson University Ravens in another HCAC matchup. The conference home opener for the Pioneers is slated for a 2:00 p.m. start from the Beck Center in Lexington.
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