Berea, KY- After a week off the court, the volleyball team came back to the Seabury Center to play in their second consecutive USA South tri-match, this time though as the hosts. The team welcomed the Huntingdon College Hawks and Brevard College Tornadoes, teams they faced in an earlier season tri-match.
Their first match of the day saw the Hawks race out to 4-1 advantage over the Mountaineers. Two straight points in the form of a kill from Katherine Gonterman and a service ace from Kristin Barnes brought Berea back within one point, 4-3. Huntingdon responded though with six straight points and held a comfortable cushion until the Mountaineers used six straight points to pull within one point, 21-20. Berea was unable to turn the momentum in their favor though as the Hawks won the first set 25-20.
Barnes opening serve in the second set gave the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead as a result of a bad set by Huntingdon. The lead shortly changed in favor of the Hawks even though the visitors never pulled ahead by more than five points. Huntingdon held a 15-10 lead before kills from Mersiha Mustaifc and Isis Hill aided Berea in scoring six consecutive points to lead 16-10. After a couple of ties, the Hawks took a 21-17 lead before kills from Hill and Addie Bowman along with two errors by the visitors tied the game at 21. Gonterman's kill tied the game back up at 23 but the Mountaineers were unable to get the points needed to win the set as Huntingdon took a 2-0 lead on a 25-23 second set win.
Berea moved out to a 3-1 lead in the third set off a kill from Gonterman and Alexandra Wilkins before the Mountaineers gave up the lead for a short bit of time. Berea was the first team to break double-digits in the set, taking a 10-9 lead the team held onto for a while in the set. Leading 14-13, a 4-1 run which included kills from Hill and Bowman to go along with a Wilkins service ace pushed the Mountaineers' advantage to 18-14. Five straight points from the Hawks gave them a lead they never relinquished as they went on to win the third set 25-21 and the match 3-0.
Gonterman led the team with six kills while Wilkins finished with 17 assists on offense. Defensively, Destiney Balser finished as the digs leader with 15 to go along with eight block assists from the team.
In the second match of the day for Berea, the Tornados of Brevard College raced out to a 6-0 lead before a kill from Wilkins ended the scoring streak. Trailing 12-3, the Mountaineers cut the Brevard advantage in half as a sequence of a Gonterman kill, Barnes service ace and Mustafic kill made the score 12-6. The offense stalled from that point as the Tornados won the first set by a score of 25-8. The stalled offense continued for Berea in the second set as Brevard scored 10 consecutive points to copy the first set score of 25-8 and take a 2-0 lead.
Hill's kill in the third set tied the score 1-1 before the teams exchanged a couple of ties on the scoreboard. After a six point scoring rally gave Brevard a 10-3 lead, the Mountaineers used a Barnes service ace to help them score five of the next six points to the cut the lead to just three, 11-8. Berea was unable to carry the momentum in the set longer though, as the visiting Tornados went on to take the third set by a score of 25-13, winning the match 3-0.
Gonterman finished as the kills leader for the second straight match with three teams. Also offensively, Wilkins finished with seven assists. Ten digs from Balser helped her lead the team defensively while Hill added a block solo to the defensive end.
Berea will go back on the road for their next match, traveling to Maryville, TN to stay in conference play against Maryville College. First serve is scheduled for 4:00 PM on Friday. The information on how to follow the Mountaineers live on the road can found at the home for Berea College Athletics, www.bereaathletics.com.