Lexington, Ky. – Day two of the Transylvania Invitational brought about a pair of tough tests for the Transylvania volleyball team as the Pioneers fell to the Hope College Flying Dutch in four sets on Saturday morning and in four sets to the No. 25 Berry College Vikings later on Saturday afternoon in the final day of the 2018 Transylvania Invitational at the Beck Center.
The Pioneers commenced a quadrupleheader of matches on Saturday with a morning opener against Hope College, falling to the Flying Dutch 25-16, 28-26, 18-25, 25-15. In the final game of the tournament, the Pioneers squared off with the Berry College Vikings, grabbing the third set after falling behind two sets to none before the Vikings won 25-17 to wrap up the contest.
The four-team invitational which included two nationally-ranked opponents in Berry and No. 10 Washington University in St. Louis, saw the Pioneers drop all three matches over two days by four-set decisions.
Transylvania was led by sophomore middle blocker Ellie Stigger's 14 kills in the morning match against Hope while junior setter Hannah Talkers provided a match-high 34 assists to go with 10 digs. Junior libero Abby Wills paced all players with 19 digs.
Junior front liners Jordan Horne and Taryn Glass each led the way with nine kills apiece in the afternoon battle against Berry while Talkers led Transylvania with 25 assists and Wills matched her morning output with another 19 digs.
After Hope broke a two-point margin at 12-10 to pull away in the first set, Transylvania spent most of the second set performing a comeback from a deficit as large as eight points. Trailing 18-10, Horne, junior middle blocker Adeline Tonn, and senior outside hitter Jennifer Buckman each came up with kills to thin the gap. Down 22-17, the Pioneers swung the pendulum to tie the set at 24-all and took a 25-24 lead on an attack error by the Flying Dutch. With the set tied at 26-26, Hope came up with back-to-back points to hold on to victory.
Transylvania gained momentum in the third set, breaking an 11-11 deadlock to go ahead and never look back in the set. Buckman's five kills were instrumental in the Pioneers taking the third set from Hope.
Hope swung back in the fourth set, taking control and sealing the match with a 25-15 win. The Pios were plagued by 11 errors in the final set after registering a team-best .281 attacking percentage in the third.
In the afternoon match, Berry came out swinging at the Pioneers, winning soundly in the first set with a 25-13 final. The cohesive rhythm of the Vikings continued in the second set as the visitors prevailed 25-15.
Transylvania asserted itself in the third set, climbing ahead 6-1 following an ace from junior outside hitter Sarah Shivley. Talkers later put away a setup from Tonn to continue the healthy lead with an 11-6 advantage. The Pioneers grew their lead to as large as seven in the third set as they put away Berry with an impressive 25-18 showing.
The Vikings rebounded in the fourth set on 13 kills to five errors to clinch the match victory and head home from the Transylvania Invitational with a record of 2-1.
Transylvania next continues its ambitious nonconference schedule to open the season, heading to Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday for four matches over three days in the Emory National Tournament hosted by Emory University. Transylvania squares off against No. 5 Emory on Thursday, September 6, making the third top-25 ranked opponent the Pioneers will face in their first four games of the season.
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