Cumberland pushed to limit in road win
LEBANON, Tenn. – After winning the first two sets, Cumberland University held off a hard-charging Union University volleyball team Wednesday night and snapped a seven-match losing streak on the road with a 3-2 victory in Jackson, Tenn.
The Bulldogs (13-7, 3-5 TranSouth Conference) fell behind in the decisive fifth set 14-13 before breaking Union’s match point on a kill by Jessica Gericke. The junior college transfer from Freeburg, Ill., was assisted by Cookeville High School product Taylor Denney. After a service error on its first match point, Cumberland battled back with two straight points to win the match 17-15. Kayla Arnold of Greenbrier, Tenn., provided the winning point with a kill off a set by fellow freshman Courtney Zigman.
“The girls fought so hard,” CU coach Dwayne Deering said. “They were determined not to lose and they showed a lot of heart tonight … especially on the road. The girls learned a lot about themselves tonight.”
Cumberland took the first set 25-20, winning five of the last six points after the home team pulled within one point at 20-19. The Volleydawgs claimed the second game in come-from-behind fashion as Union (17-3, 5-3) took the lead at 10-9 and held it until CU knotted the set at 22 apiece and eventually won 25-23.
The Bulldogs stumbled in the third set, in which Cumberland had a negative hitting percentage as CU had 11 errors and only 10 kills. The third set saw the Bulldogs bounce back with a .211 kill percentage, but Union claimed a 25-20 win while sporting a .400 attack percentage.
Kaysi Arnold paced the Bulldogs with 17 kills, while her twin sister Kayla and Samantha Bellar finished the match with 13 and 10, respectively. Zigman, an Aurora, Ohio native, led the way with 31 assists, while Denney had 24. Jordan Pescatore of Birmingham, Ala., registered 23 digs, while Macon County High School product Brooke Bowers and Tracy Smallwood of Portland, Tenn., tallied 19 and 10, respectively.
After going 1-3 on the most recent road swing, the Volleydawgs return to the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center next Tuesday at 6 p.m. when rival Trevecca Nazarene University visits the Cedar City. Cumberland owns a 9-0 record at home this season.