Coker edges Tusculum in five-set volleyball battle

Coker edges Tusculum in five-set volleyball battle

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Taylor du Bray recorded 27 kills and eight digs to lead the Coker College women's volleyball team to a 3-2 South Atlantic Conference victory at Tusculum University Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Arena.

The Cobras (9-8, 1-7 SAC) won the match by scores of 26-24, 17-25, 25-22, 25-19, 15-7.

Coker's Kara Overholt tallied a match-high 37 digs, including nine alone in the fifth set as the Cobras hit .375 in the final frame to record their first league win of the season.

Tusculum's Aubrey Hawkins led her team with 14 kills and hit .355 for the match, while Cassie Born and Carli Pigza added 13 and 10 kills, respectively.  TU setter Catherine Clingan came off the bench and dished out 44 assists while also tallying four kills, five digs, two blocks and posted a .429 hitting percentage in the loss.

The Pioneers (2-13, 0-9 SAC) out-hit Coker posting a .194 team hitting percentage while the visitors hit .188.  The Cobras tallied 59 kills on 170 attempts with 27 errors while Tusculum had 57 kills in 175 attacks with 23 errors.  Defensively, Coker edged TU in digs by an 82-71 margin, while the Pioneers had a 7-4 advantage in team blocks.

Both teams struggled on the serve as the two combined for 24 service errors (TU 12, Coker 12) while TU had a 4-2 advantage in service aces.

The first set went back and forth which included 13 ties and five lead changes.  With Coker lead 20-19 following a kill from Chloe Attram, TU got back-to-back kills from Gabby Gray to take a 21-20 lead.  But the Cobras responded with consecutive points to retake the lead at 22-21 thanks to a TU ball handling error and a du Bray kill.  With the score tied 24-24, du Bray converted a kill followed by a Tusculum hitting error as the Cobras prevailed 26-24.

Tusculum roared out of the gate in the second set taking a 6-0 lead.  TU led 9-3 before the Cobras cut the deficit to 9-6.  But that would be as close as Coker would get as the Pioneers won 25-17 to even the match at a set apiece.  The Pioneers got four kills and four digs from Born and three kills and two blocks from Lydia Collins.

In the third set, the Pioneers led 8-4 following two Coker attack errors and a Hawkins' kill.  But the Cobras rallied with four straight points to knot the score at 8-8.  TU would take a 13-11 lead on two kills from Born, but Coker regained the lead with a 3-0 spurt to go up 14-13 and later moved out to a 17-14 lead forcing a TU timeout.  But the Cobras would hold onto the lead down the stretch to take a 25-22 win and a 2-1 edge in the match.

With their backs against the wall, Tusculum dominated the fourth set early scoring the first four points and would lead by as many as 18-6.  The Cobras responded with a 13-5 spark to cut the TU lead to 23-19, but back-to-back kills from Hawkins sealed the set win 25-19 and sent the match to a deciding frame.

But it was all Coker in the fifth as the visitors scored the first five points and never looked back as the Cobras won 15-7.  Coker tallied eight kills in 16 attempts with two errors in the final stanza, while TU hit minus-.059 with three kills, four errors in 17 attacks.

Tusculum libero Melissa Mazur finished with 30 digs, while Born and Jordan Zaleski tallied 17 and 13 digs, respectively. 

The Pioneers return to action this Friday when they travel to Catawba College for a 7 p.m. match.