MARS HILL, N.C. --- Sarah Goddard recorded 12 kills, 14 digs and a .379 hitting percentage to lead the Mars Hill University women's volleyball team to a 3-0 South Atlantic Conference victory over Tusculum University Tuesday night at Stanford Arena.
The Lions (10-4, 4-2 SAC) won the match by scores of 28-26, 26-24, 26-24. Despite the sweep the match was a thriller as the contest was tied 32 times and included 16 lead changes.
Tusculum senior Cassie Born led all players with 15 kills and completed the double-double with a dozen digs. Gabby Gray added 13 kills and 10 digs, while Carli Pigza finished with six kills and a match-high five blocks.
Mars Hill finished the match hitting .155 as a team with 46 kills, 21 errors in 161 total attempts. Tusculum (2-9, 0-5 SAC) tallied a .114 attack percentage with 43 kills, 24 errors in 167 attempts.
The opening frame went back and forth with 13 ties and seven lead changes. With the score knotted at 14-14, the Lions scored four straight points on three TU attack errors along with a setting error to take an 18-14 lead. MHU maintained the lead at 21-17 and got it to set point at 24-21. But following a Tusculum timeout, the Pioneers roared back with three straight points on two kills from Born and a MHU error to tie the score at 24-24. TU got back-to-back kills from Born and Pigza to take a 26-25 lead. But MHU scored three straight points to win the set at 28-26.
With the scored tied 13-13 in the second set, MHU came up with another run going on a 5-1 spurt to lead 18-14. Tusculum rallied with an 8-1 run to take a 22-19 before MHU scored three in a row to tie the set at 22-22. TU got to set-point to take a 24-23 lead, but Mars Hill would once again score three in a row to claim the set 26-24 and take a 2-0 advantage in the match.
The Pioneers took a 12-9 lead to start the third set but a 5-0 run by Mars Hill propelled the home team to a 14-12 advantage. TU scored four of the next six points to even the score at 16-16. Tusculum followed with a 3-0 run to go up 19-16. With the Pioneers leading 20-17, Mars Hill countered with a 4-0 run and extended the lead to 23-21 thanks to a Goddard kill. The Lions led 24-22, but Tusculum fought off two match points to tie the score at 24-24. But kills from Sarah Anne Johnson and Elizabeth Kaeser sealed the victory for Mars Hill and claim the set 26-24.
MHU's Maddie Spurgeon added 10 kills, while Kaeser contributed eight kills, three service aces and 17 digs.
The Pioneers will close out their five-game road swing with Friday's 7 p.m. contest at Lenoir-Rhyne.