CU claims Volleydawg Classic title
LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland University improved to 4-0 as the Bulldogs swept their way through Saturday’s competition to claim the season-opening Volleydawg Classic at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center, defeating Pikeville College and Oakland City University.
“It’s been about five years since we’ve won our own tournament,” CU head coach Dwayne Deering said. “The girls are really playing hard right now. Great effort has won all four matches for us.”
In the championship game, the Bulldogs were matched up against Oakland City, the only team that has won a game over CU – a 25-16 win in Friday’s first game of a 3-0 victory by Cumberland – in 2009.
The two teams battled to a 7-7 tie before the Bulldogs took the lead for good on a kill by Taylor Denney. CU finished off the 25-17 win with one of Kayla Arnold’s eight kills.
The second game was tight throughout with four ties and three lead changes. Cumberland eventually came out on top 25-22. Down 9-6, the Bulldogs went on a 12-2 run, giving CU the lead for good. The Mighty Oaks led only one time during the final game – at 4-3 – as the Bulldogs were able to cruise through the latter part of the contest, taking a 25-13 win.
Greenbrier High School product Kaysi Arnold had a match-high 14 kills, while junior college transfer Jessica Gericke of Freeburg, Ill. and Tracy Smallwood each finished with eight. Denney posted 36 assists, while libero Jordan Pescatore of Birmingham, Ala. tallied 15 digs.
During the first match of the day, Pikeville was never able to build a lead of more than two points over Cumberland in any game. After Kayla Arnold broke a 5-5 tie in the first game off a Denney assist, the Bulldogs never trailed again. CU won the opening game 25-17 before taking Game 2 25-16 and the final game 25-14.
Cumberland won at least three straight points 12 times during the victory over the Bears. During a stretch of the third game, the Bulldogs earned 8-of-9 points, extending the lead to 20-7 – the largest gap of the match.
Twin sisters Kayla and Kaysi Arnold each finished the match with nine kills, while Smallwood – a senior from Portland, Tenn. – had eight. Denney registered 38 of the team’s 42 assists. The former Cookeville High School standout also had a perfect kill percentage on five attempts. Pescatore led the team with 10 digs.
The Bulldogs return to action Sunday at 4:30 p.m. when they play St. Catharine College in a neutral-site matchup at Macon County High School. The Lafayette, Tenn. school is the alma mater of coach Deering, as well as freshmen Emily Sullivan and Brooke Bowers.