Lexington, Ky. – For the second straight year, the No. 20 Transylvania volleyball team will host the semifinal and championship rounds of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Volleyball Conference Tournament at the Clive M. Beck Center on the campus of Transylvania University on Saturday and Sunday, November 9-10.
The Pioneers last week completed their first undefeated run through the HCAC regular-season schedule on the way to recording their best overall record in program history with a 25-4 mark in 2019 to clinch the number one seed in the conference tournament for the second consecutive year.
The achievement marked the first time in the program's 18-year history in which the Pioneers won outright consecutive regular-season titles.
Transylvania and No. 2 seed Hanover College (18-10, 7-2 HCAC) have earned quarterfinal byes for this year's conference tournament and will begin their tournament runs with the HCAC semifinals on Saturday at the Clive M. Beck Center.
The Pioneers will take on the winner of Wednesday's quarterfinal match between No. 5 Defiance (17-11, 5-4 HCAC) and No. 4 Rose-Hulman (14-15, 6-3 HCAC), contested in Terre Haute, Indiana. Hanover will face the winner of Wednesday's quarterfinal match pitting No. 3 Earlham (18-8, 6-3 HCAC) versus No. 6 Bluffton (7-23, 3-6 HCAC) from Richmond, Indiana.
The six teams who qualified for HCAC postseason play are aiming for the HCAC Tournament Championship and the conference's corresponding automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament, which begins on November 14. Transylvania is aiming for what would be its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 18 years of existence.
The Pioneers begin tournament play on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. against either Defiance or Rose-Hulman. That semifinal will be followed by the Hanover vs. Earlham/Bluffton semifinal at the Beck Center at 5:00 p.m. The two semifinal winners will advance to Sunday's championship match at 1:00 p.m.
Tickets for Saturday's semifinal session and Sunday's championship are $8 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and non-HCAC institution students, and free for faculty, staff, and students of HCAC institutions with display of their university ID.
The Pioneers advanced to last season's HCAC Tournament Championship match where they were defeated by Rose-Hulman in four sets. Transylvania has made tournament championship match appearances in 2018, 2011, and 2010.
-Transylvania volleyball moved up this week to No. 20 in the AVCA Volleyball Top 25 poll. The Pioneers were ranked 24th the previous week and 23rd two weeks ago. The Pioneers' highest ranking of the season came the week of September 24, when they were ranked 18th. This is the first season in program history that the Pioneers have entered the AVCA Top 25 poll.
-Transylvania enters the 2019 HCAC Tournament on an 11-match winning streak, its second-longest winning streak of the 2019 season. The Pioneers set a new program record earlier this season with a 12-match winning streak which began on September 3 vs. Centre and ended on Sept. 28 vs. Mount Union. This year is the first time the Pioneers have recorded two double-digit win streaks in one season.
-The Pioneers went undefeated in the month of October for a perfect 10-0 mark. The wins included a pair of victories against two nonconference opponents (3-1 at Spalding Nov. 2, 3-1 vs. Olivet Nov. 26) and eight wins against HCAC opposition.
-Senior middle blocker Ellie Stigger (Louisville, Ky. / Sacred Heart Academy) leads the HCAC in kills per set with 4.26 kps and attacking percentage at .390, and second in total kills with 366 on the year. Stigger also leads the conference in blocks per set with 1.06 and second in total blocks with 91. Senior setter Hannah Talkers (Villa Hills, Ky. / Notre Dame Academy) is the conference leader in assists with 1071 total this season and 10.71 assists per set. Talkers also ranks 13th in conference in digs with 328 and 3.28 digs per set. Senior Jordan Horne (Louisville, Ky. / Male HS) ranks fourth in kills (346) and kills per set (3.46) and ninth in the HCAC in total blocks (60). Freshman libero Sylvie Miller (Louisville, Ky. / Oldham County HS) ranks fifth in the HCAC in digs with 475 on the season and seventh in the conference in aces with 37.
-Transylvania volleyball ended the season with its third straight sweep of the HCAC Player of the Week awards. Horne won her second straight Offensive Player of the Week award while Talkers won her second Defensive Player of the Week award and third overall player of the week award of the season. Four different players won at least two player of the week awards this season while 10 awards were clinched in total. Talkers (3), Stigger (3), Miller (2), and Horne (2) were the 2019 player of the week award-winners for the Pios.
-Transylvania beat three different teams ranked in the AVCA Top 25 this season at the time the team was ranked. The Pioneers defeated No. 6 Wittenberg 3-1 (Aug. 30), No. 20 Mary Hardin-Baylor 3-0 (Sept. 7), and No. 7 Colorado College 3-2 (Sept. 13). The Pioneers went 3-3 against Top 25 competition in the 2019 regular season.
Recent HCAC Tournaments for the Pioneers – how they fared
2018: beat No. 3 Bluffton in HCAC semifinals 25-18, 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, lost to No. 2 Rose-Hulman in HCAC championship 21-25, 25-22, 23-25, 17-25
2017: beat No. 6 Mount St. Joseph in HCAC quarterfinals 25-21, 17-25, 25-13, 25-20, lost at No. 2 Rose-Hulman in HCAC semifinals 23-25, 25-19, 14-25, 25-27
2016: lost at No. 3 Rose-Hulman in HCAC quarterfinals 25-21, 21-25, 22-25, 20-25
2015: lost to No. 5 Franklin 19-25, 25-17, 22-25, 25-23, 11-15
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