Colorado Springs, Colo. – Jordan Horne delivered a career-high 26 kills as the Transylvania volleyball team captured the 2019 Pikes Peak Challenge crown with a four-set victory over the Birmingham-Southern College Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Reid Arena.
After dropping a tight first set, the Pioneers reeled off three straight-set victories for a 24-26, 25-20, 25-17, 25-21 win over the Tigers to grow their winning streak to eight matches while improving their season record to 9-2.
Transylvania swept all three opponents it faced in Colorado over the past 24 hours including its second top-10 nationally-ranked opponent of the year in Colorado College on Friday afternoon.
Birmingham-Southern fell to 6-2 on the season.
The Tigers took the first set away from the Pioneers after Transy jumped out to an early lead. Ellie Stigger logged a kill for a 14-9 Transy advantage and later teamed with Hannah Talkers on a block to give the Pioneers a 21-16 lead. Birmingham-Southern then began a furious rally, scoring eight of the next 11 points to tie up the set at 24-all and took a 25-24 upper hand on a kill. A Transy error handed the set to Birmingham-Southern.
Transylvania's defense shifted into high gear in the second set as the Tigers were limited to just nine kills. The Pioneer used a 7-1 start to assume control of the second set and maintained the lead all the way to the finish line. Horne contributed two more kills down the stretch as the Pioneers closed out the second set, 25-20.
It was another fast start for Transylvania to begin the third set as Horne continued to push the tempo with two kills and was joined by Joie Porter, who registered a kill for a 4-1 advantage. Birmingham-Southern closed in at 6-5, but Talkers and Adeline Tonn came up with timely kills to help stretch the lead back out. Stigger served up an ace for a 9-5 advantage and Talkers followed with one of her own moments later for an 11-6 lead. Transylvania grew its lead to as large as 18-9 before finishing off a 25-17 win.
The desperate Tigers began the fourth set with the lead in hand and the Pioneers found themselves battling from behind. Horne came up with another kill to cut Transy's deficit to 12-10 and the Pioneers would eventually tie up the set at 15-all via a kill from Stigger.
With the set tied at 17-17, The Pioneers scored three straight points to go ahead for good. Hard hitting by Transy forced the Tigers into a myriad of errors to finish the match. Horne picked up the last of her 26 kills on the 24th point as the Pioneers claimed the Pike Place Challenge trophy as the only team at the weekend tournament to win all three of their matches.
With 42 kills on the weekend, Horne moved past Blayke Herman for fourth all-time on the Transylvania volleyball career kills list with 1,049.
Stigger finished the match with 15 kills and three blocks; with a total of 19 for the weekend in Colorado, Stigger moved past the 200 career blocks mark, becoming the fifth Pioneer in program history to reach that milestone.
Talkers put forth another all-around line with a season-high 47 assists along with 15 digs, six kills, one block, and one ace.
Talkers was recognized for her weekend-long performance by earning Most Valuable Player honors of the Pikes Peak Challenge. Horne and Stigger were named along with Talkers to the Pikes Peak Challenge All-Tournament Team.
Transylvania returns home for a midweek match versus Spalding University on Wednesday, September 18 at the Clive M. Beck Center in Lexington. Opening serve against the Golden Eagles is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
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