GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum women's volleyball team came out firing against Queens, dethroning the visiting Royals in three sets.
The host Pioneers (5-6, 3-3 SAC) won the match by scores of 25-23, 25-23, 25-22 over the Royals (7-3, 4-2 SAC).
Queens' Logan Witt finished with a game-high 13 kills, while Mallory Swarts led all players with 33 assists. Defensively, four Royals racked up double-digit digs with Jordan Proszenyak scooping up a team-high 13. Lindsay Elmore collected four block assists at the net.
Gabby Gray and Carli Pigza led the Pioneer offense with 11 and nine kills, respectively. Pigza fired on a .286 clip in the match. The setting duo of Elise Carmichael and Catherine Clingan combined for 31 of the team's 35 assists. The Pioneers excelled at the service line, recording only three service errors. Taylor Blythe and Carmichael picked up the aces for Tusculum.
Defensively, Sosnowski collected a match-high 20 digs, while Gray and Emiah Burrowes racked up 15 and 13 digs, respectively. At the net, Blythe tied her career-high six total blocks in the match and Pigza assisted on four to her credit.
Queens hit .189 as a team with 43 kills and 18 errors in 132 total attempts. Tusculum hit .190 with 37 kills, 15 errors and 116 total attacks. The Pioneers led the Royals in digs (64-60) and block assists (16-10), while the visitors held the advantage in assists (37-35) and aces (4-2).
The first set saw 11 ties and five lead changes with the Royals taking the first three points of the match. Tusculum proceeded to tie the game by winning the next three serves. Down 23-21 in crunch time, the Pioneers called a key timeout. Returning from the break, Queens collected a service error and an attack error. Blythe recorded a kill, leading to a Royal timeout. TU finished off the four-point run with a block from Blythe and Pigza.
Once again, the second set is where the Pioneers shined, hitting .325 as a team. The Black and Orange won the set's first five points, regaining a five-point lead twice. Queens tightened the set up, tying the Pioneers at 22, before taking a one point advantage. TU came from behind to earn the last three points via a service error, a Tatum Thornton kill, and closed out by Pigza's attack.
Holding the momentum, the Pioneers closed out the match with a 25-22 set victory. TU owned the set from the beginning, never relenting the lead or allowing a tie. Tusculum started the set strong with its first four points. The lead stretched as far as eight points on three occasions, but the Royals did not give in. With the set 22-21 in the home team's favor, a block by Pigza and Blythe was followed by a Blythe and Burrowes block. A kill from Queens silenced the crowd momentarily before a thunderous strike from Blythe closed out the match.
Tusculum remains in Pioneer Arena for a Saturday afternoon showdown with SAC foe Catawba, starting at 2pm.