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Balanced Effort Earns Pioneers First Win of Marante Era

Balanced Effort Earns Pioneers First Win of Marante Era

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga.. --- The Tusculum University volleyball team split a pair of matches Saturday to close out the 2019 Bobcat Classic, which was held at Georgia College this weekend. The Black and Orange move to 1-2 on the young season.

Tusculum was swept by Lindenwood to begin the second day of the tournament. In the Pioneers second match of the day, the offense ignited to beat Limestone 3-1.

Lindenwood 3, Tusculum 0

Sadie Kosciuk and Mackenzi Sifuentes posted eight kills with a .357 and .278 hitting percentage, respectively, in pacing the Lindenwood to a 3-0 win over Tusculum. The Lions won the match by scores of 25-15, 25-22, 25-21 in the teams' first-ever meeting.

Lindenwood's Jenna Garrett dished out 28 of the Lion's 32 assists, while Garrett and Kaitlyn Chan had a team-high seven digs apiece. Sifuentes also contributed four block assists on the defensive side.

Carli Pigza led the Pioneers with seven kills, while Gracee Peters added five kills in the loss. Catherine Clingan led the three setters with 11 assists. Carly Sosnowski led the backrow with eight digs and two service aces at the line. Tatum Thornton made her presence known at the net with four block assists and Pigza collected three.

Tusculum 3, Limestone 1

The Pioneers (1-2), sparked by three double-doubles, powered its way past future conference opponent Limestone (1-2) to bring the all-time series to 7-1 in Tusculum's favor. The Black and Orange won by score of 25-19, 29-31, 25-20, 25-10.

Tusculum posted a .215 hitting percentage as TU finished with 60 kills, 23 errors, and 172 attempts. Limestone tallied a .040 attack percentage with 40 kills, 33 errors and 176 attempts. The Saints finished the day with eight service aces to go along with 12 total team blocks and 78 digs. The Pioneers had seven aces with 13 total blocks and 92 digs.

Tusculum's Gabby Gray added 20 kills, while rookie Emiah Burrowes tallied 17, a new high. Gray and Burrowes each collected double-digit digs with 19 and 14, respectively. Alyssa Rojas notched the third double-double for the Pioneers with 25 assists and 11 digs. Carly Sosnowski upped her career-high with 28 digs and added five assists. Taylor Blythe was a force at the net, collecting five kills on 12 swings, two solo blocks and one block assist. Senior Tatum Thornton also fronted the Saints with seven kills on 16 attempts, a team-high three aces, and five total blocks (one solo, four assists). Aubrey Hawkins was solid with her seven kills, five digs, and three block assists. Elise Carmichael finished with 25 assists, two aces, and eight digs.

Vanessa Blas led the Saints with 16 kills, eight digs, two aces, and a team-high three total blocks. Mia Bergan dished out 31 assists and tallied 17 digs for a double-double, while Bailey Carpenter tacked on a team-leading 22 digs. Madi DelBosque was the remaining Saint to have double-figure digs with 16.

In the first set, Limestone started out the match with a 5-0 run, but the Pioneers responded with winning seven of the last eight points to close out the set, 25-19. Tusculum hit a fiery .371 with 17 kills to only four errors to set the tone of the match. TU also had a six-point run in the middle of the frame to tie and take the lead for good.

The second set was a marathon as the final score was 31-29, in favor of the Saints. Tusculum leapt out to a 16-10 lead before Limestone mounted a comeback, tying the set at 20. The teams traded points while Limestone denied three set points and the Pioneers fought off four set points and, on the fifth try, the Saints were successful.

Limestone started the third set on a roll after tying the match at one, tallying four consecutive points. Tusculum answered with four of its own before the Pioneers stretched the lead to eight (23-15), fueled by Gray. The Saints began to creep back into it but were halted by a strike from the junior.

In set four, Tusculum found a rhythm and energy, riding it to victory. A nine-point streak lit a fire underneath the Pioneers and they did not let it die. Six of the last seven scores belonged to TU, including three consecutive service aces off the hand of Thornton. Burrowes finished the match with a statement kill, closing the book on Limestone with a set score of 25-10.

Tusculum returns to action on Tuesday when they travel to Spartanburg, South Carolina to face Division I USC Upstate at 7:00pm.

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