Mount Berry, Ga. – The Transylvania volleyball team pulled off a perfect 12-set weekend at the Berry Invitational on Saturday afternoon, winning another pair of matches by straight sets for a 4-0 weekend at the Cage Center on the campus of Berry College.
Coming off a 2-0 performance the evening before, the Pioneers defeated the No. 20 University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders three sets to none in their Saturday morning match before beating the Rhodes College Lynx in a three-set sweep later in the afternoon.
The Pioneers now stand at 6-2 on the season and have won 15 straight sets in the midst of a five-game winning streak.
Right-side hitter Jordan Horne achieved a major milestone on the weekend as the senior became the sixth player to reach the 1,000-kill mark by notching 27 kills between both matches on Saturday. Horne also moved past Lauren Ketron and Stephanie Journeay for fifth place on the program's list for all-time kills.
The first contest of the day pitted the Pioneers against Mary Hardin-Baylor, the reigning American Southwest Conference champions and Sweet 16 finalists in last year's NCAA Volleyball Tournament. Transylvania outplayed the Crusaders 15 to 8 in kills in the opening set for a 25-17 victory.
The Crusaders sharpened in the second set, amassing 15 kills against two errors as the teams clashed for their tightest score of the day. Neither team led by more than three points in the set as Transy and Mary Hardin-Baylor eventually jousted to a 22-22 tie. Joie Porter came up with a kill to give the Pioneers a 23-22 advantage before the Crusaders tied up the game on a Transy service error. But two veterans in Horne and senior Hannah Talkers each answered back with consecutive kills to lock up a 25-23 win and a two-set lead.
The third set was as tough for the Pioneers as their second set which found Transy trailing at 7-3. Porter and Adeline Tonn each supplied kills to bring the Pioneers back into the contest but the Crusaders kept the upper hand as they grew the lead back up to 14-9. Transylvania responded by scoring four of the next five points keyed by a kill from Horne and consecutive kills by Ellie Stigger.
Transylvania clawed back to tie up the contest at 18-all as Horne continued stellar placement of the volleyball on Mary Hardin-Baylor's side. Horne would deliver four consecutive kills as the Pioneers went ahead, 21-18.
This time, the Crusaders answered the bell to take a 22-21 lead as they sought their first set win against the Pioneers. But after a Transylvania timeout, Talkers set up Horne for another kill and Stigger followed with a kill as the Pioneers took a 23-22 lead. The Crusaders answered with two straight points and served for set point. Stigger fought back with two straight kills to give Transylvania a 25-24 lead, and the Crusaders committed an error, sealing the match win for the Pioneers at 26-24.
The Pioneers finished the match with an impressive 21 to 2 kill-to-error ratio in the final set. Horne and Stigger each led the way with a match-high 17 kills apiece while Talkers finished the contest with 34 assists and 11 digs. Sylvie Miller tallied 14 digs as the Pioneers defeated their second opponent of the season that advanced to at least the Sweet 16 round of last year's NCAA Tournament.
The final game in Georgia contained a celebratory feel as the Pioneers swept Rhodes College for the second straight day by the score of 25-16, 25-10, 25-15 in a precision performance. Transylvania collected a total of 25 kills to just four errors over their first four sets before logging a .406 attacking percentage in the final set to leave Georgia with a perfect 12-set showing. Stigger again led the team in kills while Horne passed the 1,000-kill mark in the final game of the day as she finished with a total of 10 kills.
The Pioneers will head out west next week to Colorado Springs, Colorado on the campus of Colorado College to play three games in the Pikes Peak Invitational. Transylvania will face No. 10 Colorado College on Friday, September 13 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time and Whitworth University at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time in a Rocky Mountain doubleheader.
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