CU sweeps Union to open TranSouth Championships
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Kaysi Arnold and Laura DeGear recorded 12 and 11 kills, respectively as Cumberland University opened the TranSouth Championships with a 3-0 win over Union University Monday morning at Trevecca Nazarene University.
The fifth-seeded Bulldogs hit .280 in the match, their highest since a .660 mark against Tennessee Temple on Oct. 22 and their highest against a TranSouth foe since hitting .326 against Mid-Continent in late September.
Cumberland, which split with Union in the regular season, improved to 18-12 on the year, while Union fell to 26-9.
Cumberland gained control of the match early on with a 25-23 win in the first set, which saw nine ties but only two lead changes. After losing the lead at 6-5, the Bulldogs regained the advantage at 10-9 and stretched the game to as many four points. Arnold – a Greenbrier High School product – paced Cumberland, which hit .308 in the set, with five kills.
The Volleydawgs used a big rally late in the second set to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Trailing 22-17 Cumberland pushed across four straight points to get within one and then forcing a tie at 24-24. The two teams swapped the next to points before DeGear, a Big Rapids, Mich., native, and Arnold collected kills on back-to-back points to close out the set.
Another slow start for the Bulldogs in the final set found Cumberland and Union going neck-and-neck through a tie 14-14. That’s when CU opened up the set with a 5-0 run and never let No. 4 Union get within three. Arnold recorded the team’s ninth block of the match on the final point as CU claimed the 25-19 victory and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the tournament.
Courtney Zigman tallied 21 assists, while Taylor Denney finished with 17. Seniors Jordan Pescatore, a junior college transfer from Wallace State Community College, and Tracy Smallwood of Portland, Tenn., recorded 15 and 13 digs, respectively.
Cumberland will play two matches Tuesday, first facing top-seeded Freed Hardeman at 11:30 a.m. The Lady Lions defeated Mid-Continent in three sets Monday morning.