GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Cassie Born recorded a season-high 20 kills to lead the Tusculum University women's volleyball team to a 3-1 South Atlantic Conference victory over visiting Newberry College Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Arena.
The Pioneers (4-16, 2-12 SAC) won the match by scores of 25-18, 20-25, 27-25, 25-20 to snap a 10 home match losing streak and avenge last month's 3-2 loss to the Wolves (8-15, 3-13 SAC).
Tusculum posted a .248 hitting percentage as TU finished with 59 kills, 23 errors and 145 total attempts. Newberry tallied a .168 attack percentage with 46 kills, 22 errors and 143 attempts. The Wolves finished the day with nine service aces to go along with 10 total team blocks. TU had five aces with three blocks.
The Pioneers held a 64-55 edge in digs with senior Melissa Mazur leading the way with 24 digs while playing in her 100th career match.
Tusculum's Aubrey Hawkins added 11 kills, while Gabby Gray and Carli Pigza finished with nine kills each. Rookie Tatum Thornton had eight kills and hit .357 for the Pioneers. Setter Alyssa Rojas dished out 50 assists and recorded 11 digs for her eighth double-double of the year. It also marked her second 50-assist outing of the season, with the other coming in her 56-assist performance at Newberry.
Mary Siebert led the Wolves with 13 kills, seven digs and three blocks, while Sidra Triplett had 11 kills, three blocks and a match-high .526 hitting percentage (11-1-19). The setter duo of Olivia Kozemko and Taylor Garrison dished out 24 and 15 assists, respectively in the loss.
In the first set, Tusculum used a 9-3 run to close out the set as the Pioneers prevailed 25-18. TU posted a .293 hitting percentage in the set finishing with 18 kills, six errors and 41 attacks while limiting the Wolves to a .098 attack percentage (9-5-41). Hawkins led the charge with six kills while hitting .500 for the set. Born and Pigza also had four kills each.
Tusculum took a 15-11 advantage in the second set as Newberry took a timeout. The Wolves responded closing out the frame with a furious 14-5 spurt to take the set 25-20 to even the match at 1-1. Newberry hit .294 for the set led by Lacie Wood's four kills.
The third set was looking to be a rout for the Pioneers as Tusculum scored the first three points of the frame and led 19-11 following a kill by Gray. The Wolves inched back into the fray cutting the deficit to five at 22-17 after an Angelo Gore service ace. Trailing 24-19, the Wolves scored six straights while fighting off five set points to take a 25-24 lead on a Siebert kill. After a TU timeout, Born pushed an attack to the deep corner that stayed in for a kill to tie the score at 25-25. Pigza and Gray combined on a block and a Newberry error on set-point gave the Pioneers a 27-25 lead. Born finished the set with seven kills as TU hit .343 in the set.
It was a battle in the fourth set which saw 12 ties and five lead changes. The final tie came at 20-20 after Newberry's Zoe Dinkins posted a kill. But TU closed out the match scoring the final five points to claim a 25-20 decision and win the day in four sets.
The Pioneers return to action on Tuesday as they make the short trip to Mossy Creek to face Carson-Newman University for a 7 p.m. match at Holt Fieldhouse in Jefferson City.