MARS HILL, N.C. - The Mars Hill volleyball team (10-4, 4-2 SAC) defeated the Tusculum Pioneers (2-9, 0-5 SAC) in three sets Tuesday evening inside of Stanford Arena.
The first set was a back and forth affair with neither team gaining a decisive advantage until the final two points of the frame. Mars Hill's largest lead in the set was a 21-17 edge, but Tusculum's valiant effort was able to win seven of the next 11 points to tie the game at 24-all. They would eventually go up 26-25, but a kills from Dayanna Barbosa and Ali Blanco, along with an attack error from the Pioneers allowed Mars Hill to come from behind and take the first set, 28-26.
Tusculum's Cassie Born had seven kills in the opening frame while Maddie Spurgeon led the Lions with four kills in the first.
The second set was contested just as closely as, once again, no team was able to pull further away than four points. The Lions led 18-14, but a kill from Born followed by three consecutive attack errors from the Lions tied the set. Similar to the set previous, the Pioneers and Lions would trade points until the final moments of the set, where Tusculum was up 24-23. The Lions, led by two kills from Spurgeon, were able to take the final three points of the set and advance to the third up 2-0.
Born and Spurgeon once again led their respective offenses with six and four kills, respectively, in the second frame.
The first half of the third set was a back and forth affair that saw both teams tied at 15-all before Tusculum took four of the next five to lead 19-16. A kill from Kelly Jakaitis allowed the Lions offense to claw back into the game. To tie the game and go up 21-20, Elizabeth Kaeser served two consecutive aces that forced the Pioneers to call a timeout.
The Pioneers would tie the game coming out of the timeout, but give up the next three of the next four points to give the Lions two set points to work with. A service error from Mars Hill and a kill from Carli Pigza forced both teams into a 24-24 tie for the third straight set. Kills from Sally Anne Johnson and Kaeser sealed the deal for the Lions as they picked up their third straight win.
Born led all players with 15 kills and added 12 digs for a double-double. Gabby Gray had 13 kills and 10 digs on the evening. Alyssa Rojas led all players with 40 assists and added 11 digs.
Sarah Goddard led the Lion offense with 12 kills and chipped in 14 digs. She also led all players with a .379 hitting percentage. Spurgeon ended the contest with 10 kills. Ully Martins had a team-high 19 digs and was followed by Sara Pasour's 18 and Kaeser's 17. Pasour also had a team-high 20 assists.
Mars Hill returns to action on Friday night inside Stanford Arena when they host Lincoln Memorial. First serve is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.