Ada, Ohio – The Transylvania volleyball team fell in a pair of games against two volleyball titans on Saturday afternoon at Ohio Northern University's ONU Sports Center to wrap up a season-opening weekend at the ONU Invitational.
One day after dispensing of No. 6 nationally-ranked Wittenberg, the Pioneers fell 7-23, 18-25, 20-25 to #2 Calvin College. The Pioneers wrapped up their weekend with a 23-25, 30-32, 22-25 defeat to tournament host, #23 Ohio Northern University on the tail end of their tournament doubleheader.
The Pioneers now stand at 1-2 after their first weekend of play.
In the afternoon opener, the Pioneers faced Calvin, a perennial power that finished as the national runner-up in 2018. The Knights asserted their will in the first set with a 25-7 win as the Pioneers committed eight errors. Transylvania answered back with a sharper second set, amassing eight kills while forcing the Knights into eight errors, but Calvin expanded a 13-12 lead to eventually win set two by seven.
The Pioneers established momentum to start the third set, accelerating to an 8-3 lead behind a peppering of kills from four Pioneers and a plague of errors suffered by the Knights. Ellie Stigger's kill raised Transylvania's lead to 11-5, but Calvin scored six straight points to tie up the set at 11-all. The Knights capitalized on the comeback to finish off the set with the 25-20 victory.
The Pioneers immediately turned around to face the Ohio Northern Polar Bears in the second match of the night. The contest would feature three tightly-contested sets, highlighted by a dramatic second set.
After Transylvania scored four straight points to break open a 15-15 tie in set one, the Polar Bears responded with five unanswered points to take a 20-19 lead on Transylvania. The Pioneers cut the deficit back to one at 21-20, 22-21, 23-22, and 24-23, but the Polar Bears came up with the final kill to stave off the Pioneers by two.
The second set featured a myriad of lead changes and ties as the Pioneers mustered 19 kills to Ohio Northern's 15. Trailing 25-24, Stigger came up with a kill to keep the set alive and the Pioneers took the lead on the next rally with an error by Ohio Northern. But the Polar Bears came up with a kill to force a 26-26 tie. Transylvania again had a chance to win holding a 28-27 advantage following an ace from Talkers, but the Polar Bears came up with another timely kill to keep the set going.
The final tie came at 30-30 after an error by Ohio Northern. Yet suddenly, the Polar Bears' Chelsea Huppert delivered two straight kills to earn the set victory.
The third set was an encore performance for both teams as it was also tight throughout. The Polar Bears crafted a three-point lead at 16-13 and maintained that buffer through the rest of the set to earn the sweep of the Pioneers.
The Pioneers surpassed the Polar Bears in kills, 47-42, and digs with a 78-71 margin. Miller again led the way for the Pioneers in digs with 19 while Abby Wills added 18. Ellie Stigger led the way with 18 kills and Talkers was the match-high leader in assists with 38.
Transylvania returns to play on Tuesday, September 3 as the Pioneers host the Centre College Colonels in its home opener. The clash of rivals begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Clive M. Beck Center in Lexington.
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