Tusculum holds off rally for 3-2 SAC win over Queens

Shannon Murphy recorded her 9th double-double of the season in Tusculum's 3-2 SAC win over Queens (photo by Chuck Williams)
Shannon Murphy recorded her 9th double-double of the season in Tusculum's 3-2 SAC win over Queens (photo by Chuck Williams)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Shannon Murphy recorded 42 assists and 14 digs to lead the Tusculum volleyball team to a 3-2 South Atlantic Conference victory over Queens University of Charlotte Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Arena.                                     

Tusculum (6-5, 4-3 SAC) captured the first two sets, but had to hold of a rally by the Royals (7-4, 2-3 SAC) as the Pioneers went to their second straight 5-set match of the weekend and sixth 5-setter of the season.

Cassie Born led the Pioneers with her 12 kills and 21 digs, while Laryssa Welch finished with 10 kills. 

Queens' Rebecca Cochrane led all player with her 19 kills to go along with her 15 digs.  Casey Tarvin added 18 digs, while setter Sydney Kunz dished out 59 assists, eight digs and recorded three service aces.

The Royals finished the match with 66 kills, 29 errors and 189 attacks for their .196 hitting percentage. Tusculum tallied 51 kills with 26 errors in their 176 attempts for a .142 attack percentage.  TC totaled seven team blocks to four for QUC.  The Pioneers edged the Royals 86-85 in digs, while Queens held a 9-7 advantage in service aces.

The Pioneers overcame a 20-15 deficit in the first frame and used a 10-3 run at the end of the set including three straight points for a 25-23 win.  Born tied it at 23-23 with a kill, while blocks from Mariah Lewis and Kaily Weiss gave TC a 24-23 lead.  Murphy sealed it with a kill on set-point.  Tusculum hit .227 in the opening set and got four kills each from Welch and Born as the Pioneers prevailed.

In the second set, the Pioneers rallied late again.  Trailing 19-15, TC went on a 7-3 run to take a 22-21 following Weiss block.  Raines tied the score (22-22) for Queens with a kill, but Sabrina Schleuger kill and a QUC attack error gave TC a 24-22 lead.  Queens tied it at 24-24 with back-to-back points, but Welch posted a kill and a block on the next two points as TC won 26-24 to take a two-set lead in the match.

It was all Queens in the third set as the Royals jumped out to a 6-1 led en route to a 25-11 win.  Queens hit .357 in the set with Cochran leading the charge with six kills.

The final two sets went down to the wire.  The fourth frame featured nine ties and seven lead changes with the last one coming late. Trailing 19-18, Queens closed out the set with a 7-2 run to win 25-21 to send the match to a deciding set.  Casey Tarvin proved to be the hero with her seven kills, while Lexie Dolecheck accounted for 10 of her match-high 32 digs in the fourth set alone.

In the fifth frame included eight ties with the last coming at 11-11.  The Pioneers got to critical points on a Lewis kill and a QUC hitting error as TC led 13-11.  Cochran trimmed the deficit in half with a kill at 13-12.  Weiss followed with her seventh kill of the match and Alyssa Rojas recorded a service ace on match point as it hit the net and fell into the Queens side of the court for the TC victory.

Lewis finished the match with eight kills and three blocks, while Schleuger also contributed eight kills and a dozen digs.  TC libero Melissa Mazur led the team with 26 digs while Weiss added four blocks to the Pioneer effort.

Tusculum returns to action on Tuesday when they travel to arch-rival Carson-Newman for a 7 p.m. match at Holt Field House.  TC will be looking to avenge an earlier season loss to the Eagles.