NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Taylor Denney posted a double-double and Kaysi Arnold had an error-free, 15-kill match to lead Cumberland University to come-from-behind 3-2 victory over rival Trevecca Nazarene University at Moore Gymnasium in TranSouth Conference volleyball action Tuesday night.
Cumberland (16-4, 3-0) defeated the Trojans for the third straight time, dating back to last season. CU also beat Trevecca (9-9, 2-2) here in five sets on September 4 in a non-conference match during the Scott Jones Classic.
Denney tallied a season-high 19 digs – her highest total since recording 23 against Pikeville College in 2008 – to go with her 21 assists. Arnold was the only Bulldog with double-digit kills, as the sophomore from Greenbrier, Tenn., set a new season-high. Her .375 attack percentage was the highest for any Cumberland player with at least 12 kills this season.
Cumberland trailed 2-0 going into the third set and winning even a set looked bleak as the Bulldogs held the lead for a total of eight serves to that point. CU lost the first two sets 20-25 and 23-25 before winning 25-17, 25-21 and 15-9.
The Volleydawgs started quick in the third set and forced Trevecca to take a timeout after an ace by Jessica Gericke made the score 12-7. Cumberland came out of the break continuing to add to its lead, winning the next two points and eventually getting to a nine-point lead at 21-12. TNU won back-to-back points before the teams closed out the set going point-for-point.
Trevecca looked to control the fourth set early, winning three consecutive points to start, but Cumberland won the next seven, taking advantage of four Trojan hitting errors, to take the lead for good. TNU would eventually close the gap and even tie the set at 21-21 on three straight points that ended a 7-2 stretch. Bulldog head coach Dwayne Deering called his first timeout to stop the bleeding and his team responded, claiming four more points to force the fifth set.
Again Cumberland started strong, taking a 5-1 lead and causing the Trojans to take a timeout. CU made it a 9-3 game before TNU used its second stoppage. An attack error by Trevecca made it an 11-4 contest and giving the Bulldogs their largest lead of the set. A kill by Meghan Gass put the score at 12-6 and the Trojans put up three more points before a ball-handling error put the ball in the hands of Gericke, who closed out the match from the service line thanks to Arnold and Angelyn Stanton teaming up on a pair of blocks.
To start the match, The Bulldogs jumped ahead early, winning the first three points, but the lead was short-lived as Trevecca rattled off five of the next six points to gain its first advantage of the contest. After a block by Mackenzie Gass and Angelyn Stanton, Meghan Gass served an ace to give Cumberland the lead again briefly at 6-5. CU forced two more ties – the latest coming at 9-9 – before the Trojans scored five straight to take the lead for good.
Cumberland trailed for most of the second set before battling back from as many as five points down as late as 19-14 to take a lead 22-21, but the Bulldogs couldn’t close out the home team as Trevecca won back-to-back to points. Lauren Carter tied the game at 23-23 with a kill off an assist from Taylor Denney, but TNU won the final two points to take the two-set lead.
Gass tallied 18 assists, while Jaclyn Rodriguez and Gericke added 28 and 14 digs, respectively. Stanton, who played two years at Trevecca, posted nine blocks. As a team Cumberland, which ranks 20th in the NAIA in total blocks, recorded 13 1/2, including a triple block by Arnold, Laura DeGear and Danielle Girardeau.
The Bulldogs return home Thursday to continue conference play, taking on Martin Methodist at 6 p.m.