WISE, Va. --- The Tusculum women's volleyball team dominated UVa-Wise in three sets, effectively shutting down the Cavaliers in the match.
The Pioneers (10-9, 8-6 SAC) won the match by scores of 25-17, 25-19, 25-8 over the Cavaliers (1-17, 0-14 SAC). With the victory, Tusculum jumps to sixth in the South Atlantic Conference standings. Danielle Marante also hit double-digits for her career head coaching wins.
Matelyn Gibson led the Cavaliers with six kills, while Ciara Kain and Kelsey Green collected four each. Gibson also headed up the dig category for UVa-Wise with 14. Morgan Milligan (12) and Briana Kerr (11) reach double-digit digs as well. Gibson and Kain finished with the only two service aces for the home team. The Cavaliers did not record a block in the match.
Gabby Gray led the Tusculum offense with 12 kills, followed closely by Taylor Blythe with 10. Blythe finished with a hitting percentage of .643 on her 14 swings. Gracee Peters netted nine kills, while Tatum Thornton added six kills on a .385 clip. All three setters saw action with Elise Carmichael heading up the assist category with 18, Catherine Clingan added 13, while Alyssa Rojas contributed nine. Clingan recorded two aces at the line, with Peters and Carmichael contributing the remaining two.
Defensively, Carly Sosnowski scooped up 22 digs, while Gray rounded out her double-double with 10. At the net, Thornton and Pigza were each credited with three block assists. Blythe finished with three total blocks (one solo, two assists).
UVa-Wise hit even (.000) as a team with 19 kills and 19 attack errors in 100 total attempts. Tusculum hit .254 with 45 kills, 15 errors and 118 total attacks. The Pioneers led the Cavaliers in assists (42-17), digs (60-54), aces (4-2), and total blocks (6-0).
Tusculum held the lead the entire first set, only allowing UVa-Wise to tie it once at 1-all. Peters and Gray each netted four kills in the frame to head up the offense, while 11 digs from Sosnowski fueled the attempts. The Cavaliers had their best hitting percentage of the night at .093 in set one, to the Pioneers .200. Thornton and Pigza tag-teamed on two blocks at the net, while Blythe closed out the eight-point win with a thunderous kill, assisted by Carmichael.
Set two was the closest score of the match at 25-19. The Cavaliers managed a few minute leads before Tusculum turned on the jets towards the end of the set. UVa-Wise led 14-12 until the Pioneers went on a 13-5 run, including six-straight to begin the span. Blythe and Gray paved the way with five kills apiece, while Sosnowski contributed eight more digs.
The final set was all Tusculum. The Cavaliers hit in the negative, while the Pioneers hit .500 with only two attack errors. UVa-Wise never led, managing just one tie at 1-1. After that point, Tusculum scored seven in a row, broken up by two points from the Cavaliers, before going on an eight-point tear to lead 16-3. The Pioneers later scored four-straight off of a solo block from Blythe and three consecutive kills from Gray. All four aces came in the frame as well, including the match-ending serve off of the right-hand of Carmichael.
Tusculum wraps up its road trip with a weekend swing in North Carolina against Mars Hill and Lenoir-Rhyne.