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Welch powers Tusculum to fourth straight win, Schleuger records 100th service ace

Welch powers Tusculum to fourth straight win, Schleuger records 100th service ace

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Laryssa Welch posted 19 kills, including four in the deciding set as the Tusculum volleyball team rallied to a 3-2 South Atlantic Conference victory over Coker Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Arena.

The Pioneers (9-5, 7-3 SAC) won the match by scores of 25-16, 27-29, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11 for the team's fourth straight win and sixth in their last seven outings.  Tusculum is also victorious in its third straight five-set match as the Pioneers improved to 6-2 when going five frames.

Welch finished with a .417 hitting percentage, including a perfect four kills in her four attempts in the final set.

TC teammate Mariah Lewis added 16 kills and a sterling .455 hitting percentage as she committed only one hitting error in her 33 attempts.  Lewis also accounted for six blocks in the win.

Senior setter Shannon Murphy established a career-best with her 60 assists, which are the ninth-most in program history in five-set matches.  Murphy also contributed 13 digs, two service aces, two blocks and four kills.

Cassie Born totaled 13 kills and 17 digs for her double-double, while Sabrina Schleuger had 11 kills and 16 digs in her twin-killing.  Schleuger also posted two service aces, including the 100th of her career becoming only the 10th player in program history to achieve the milestone (101).

Senior Melissa Mazur finished with 26 digs, three assists and one service ace.  Her 1,624 career digs are the fourth most in program history and she is 24 digs away from passing Johanna Ratliff (1,647 from 1998-2001) for sole possession of third place.

Coker's Taylor du Bray led all players with her 22 kills to go along with her 16 digs.  Bethany Prochnow and Alexis Berles added 10 kills each while Madison Bingle had nine kills and a team-high 24 digs.  Setter Christen Bragg had 51 assists, 13 digs, two aces and four blocks for the Cobras (7-9, 2-6 SAC).

In the opening set, it was all Tusculum as the Pioneers led wire-to-wire. TC hit at a .389 clip with 18 kills, four errors and 36 total attacks, including four kills each from the quartet of Welch, Lewis, Born and Schleuger.  TC also limited Coker to a .103 attack average which included 14 digs and two team blocks as Tusculum won the frame 25-16.

Coker answered the bell in the second set as the Cobras fought off 11 ties and six lead changes to post a 29-27 win over the Pioneers to even the match at a set apiece.  TC held a 19-15 advantage, but after a Coker timeout the visitors responded with a 7-2 run to take a 22-20 advantage thanks to two kills from du Bray and a kills from Bingle.  TC rallied to tie the set at 24-24 and held set point on two occasions.  With the score knotted at 27-27, du Bray added her ninth kills of the frame, while TC hit its eighth attack error on set point for a 29-27 Cobra win.

The third set was dominated by Coker as they hit .316 for the frame and held TC to a .114 advantage.  The Cobras led throughout most of the set including six-point spreads on two occasions including 19-13 following a Bingle kill.  Coker would later win the set 25-21.

Tusculum tied the match at 2-2 with a wire-to-wire 25-23 win over Coker in the fourth set.  TC never trailed in the fourth and led by as many as five on a couple of occasions.

In the fifth frame, with the score tied at 3-3, Tusculum erupted on a 7-1 run to take a commanding 10-4 lead.  The Cobras cut the TC lead to 14-11, but block assists from Lewis and Born on set point sealed the 15-11 triumph and a five-set win for the Pioneers.

Tusculum will host King University this Tuesday for a non-conference match at Pioneer Arena. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.  The Pioneers will be co-hosting with the Tusculum Upward Bound program, a Coat Drive as Tuesday' contest.  All fans donating a new or slightly used coat will be admitted free.

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