TC loss snaps nine-match winning streak for Pioneers
WINGATE, N.C. --- Grace Krauser recorded 15 kills to lead No. 19 Wingate University to a 3-1 win over visiting Tusculum College Friday night in South Atlantic Conference volleyball action at Cuddy Arena.
The Bulldogs (7-0, 3-0 SAC) remain undefeated on the season, while extending its 67-match SAC winning streak. Tusculum (9-2, 2-1 SAC) has its nine-match winning streak snapped, while suffering its first SAC regular-season loss in six matches; the last defeat coming on Oct. 23, 2010, in a 3-1 road loss at Wingate.
Tusculum sophomore Kassie Voelker recorded a career-high with 11 kills, while Ashley Sarmiento posted 38 assists and 15 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Sam Underwood accounted for nine kills and 12 digs, while Bailee Price finished with eight kills and 16 digs. Caitlyn Dean led TC on defense with a match-high 32 digs, while Natalie Gaudreau acced 11 digs and eight kills in the loss.
Wingate’s Susie Murach and Anna Hilton each recorded a double-double in hitting and defense. Murach posted 12 kills and 20 digs, while Hilton tallied a dozen kills and 19 digs, to go along with five blocks. Bulldog setter Liz Willis contributed 50 assists and 12 digs, while Lexi Potter finished with six kills and a match-high six blocks.
The contest was a see-saw battle that included 20 ties and eight lead changes on the evening.
In the first set, Wingate used a 9-2 run midway through the frame en route to a 25-17 decision. Murach and Krauser posted three and two kills respectively during the run.
The Bulldogs bolted out to a 6-2 lead in the second set thanks to four TC attack errors. Tusculum bounced back with a 4-1 run that included a pair of Underwood kills and a service ace by Gaudreau at TC trailed 7-6. With the set tied at 15-15, Wingate scored four of the next five points, including two Krauser kills and a kill from McGowan to give the home team a 19-16 advantage.
Wingate led 23-18, but the Pioneers made things interesting with a four straight points thanks to a Dean service ace and a kill each by Voelker and Gaudreau to pull TC to within one at 23-22. Hilton got Wingate to set-point at 24-22 following her kill, but Gaudreau answered with a kill of her own. But a TC attack error on set point gave the Bulldogs a 25-23 win and a 2-0 set advantage for the match.
Tusculum who trailed by two sets in Tuesday’s 3-2 road win at Carson-Newman, was looking to repeat the heroics over the defending SAC Champions. In the third set, the Pioneers used a 4-0 run to turn a tie into a 17-13 lead. Price started the flurry with a kill, while three Wingate errors finished the spurt. A Hilton kill and two Tusculum errors got the Bulldogs to within one at 17-16. The Pioneers responded with four straight points, highlighted by a kill from Voelker. A Price kill gave Tusculum a 24-19 lead, while a kill from Underwood capped the third set for the Pioneers at 25-20.
Kills from Potter and Hilton gave Wingate a 15-11 advantage in the fourth set. McGowan and Krauser added kills to push the margin to six at 18-12. Tusculum used a 7-2 run to cut the lead to one at 21-20. Underwood started the spurt with a kill, while Price added a pair of kills. Wingate responded with three consecutive points to take a 24-20 lead. Murach started the movement with a kill, while Potter and Hilton combined for a pair of huge blocks to set up match point for the Bulldogs. Voelker notched a kill to cut the TC deficit to 24-22, but Hilton wrapped up the victory with a kill on match point for the Bulldogs.
Wingate hit .176 for the match, with 57 kills and 25 errors in 182 attacks. TC hit .134 for the match, with 46 kills and 22 errors in 179 attacks.
The Pioneers return to action on Saturday as TC travels to Salisbury, N.C. to face Catawba College for a 2 p.m. match at Goodman Gym.
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