GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum women's volleyball team came out fighting against Lenoir-Rhyne, sweeping the Bears handily in three sets.
The host Pioneers (4-5, 2-3 SAC) won the match by scores of 29-27, 25-11, 25-18 over the Bears (7-2, 3-2 SAC).
Lenoir-Rhyne's Taylor Prall led the team with six kills, while setters Mackenzie Hulsey and Selena Scudder dished out a combined 17 assists. The libero Ashley Hawkins was the lone Bear to reach double-digit digs with 10. Taylor Walton and Braelyn Faust each accounted for two block assists.
Emiah Burrowes led the match with 13 kills on a .320 hitting percentage. Gabby Gray also knocked down double-digit kills with 10, while Aubrey Hawkins stood out with seven kills and no error for a .538 clip. Taylor Blythe finished with six kills at a .364 pace and Tatum Thornton collected three kills and no errors (.600). Elise Carmichael and Catherine Clingan tag-teamed the setting duties once again with 21 and 17 assists, respectively. At the service line, Clingan racked up three service aces.
Defensively, Sosnowski collected a match-high 13 digs. Blythe led the match with three block assists, while Gray picked up two and Thornton garnered one solo block and one assist.
Lenoir-Rhyne hit .024 as a team with 21 kills and 19 errors in 84 total attempts. Tusculum hit an efficient .268 with 44 kills, 18 errors and 97 total attacks. The Pioneers led the Bears in assists (43-21), aces (5-3), digs (40-28) and were tied with nine total blocks (one solo and eight assists).
The Bears started off the game fast, taking a 12-6 lead. The Pioneers kicked it in gear to tie the first set at 16. The teams traded points until it was squared at 27. Off an assist from Sosnowski, Burrowes rocketed her eighth kill of the frame to the floor. Clingan stood at the service line and rattled off her second ace of the set, clinching a 29-27 win.
The second set showed what the Pioneers are capable of with a .650 hitting percentage and just one attack error, holding the Bears to a meager 11 points in the frame. TU owned the set from the beginning, never relenting the lead or allowing a tie. The Black and Orange held the visitors to a negative hitting percentage (-.105), utilizing four block assists as well. TU had 21 points before the Bears were able to get to double-figures in the set. A Blythe service ace was the final point to end the frame, 25-11.
Holding all of the momentum, the Pioneers closed out the match with a 25-18 set victory. TU shut down the Bears offense, again holding it to a negative hitting percentage. The home team put on the jets and shot out to a 20-13 lead. After the gap closed to four (21-17), the Pioneers won four of the last five points to seal the match victory.
Tusculum travels to Bristol (Tenn.) on Tuesday night to square-up with non-conference King at 7:00pm.