PULASKI, Tenn. –Kaysi Arnold tallied a dozen kills, but the sophomore’s 10th double-digit effort of the season wasn’t enough to help the Cumberland University volleyball team hold off Martin Methodist Thursday night as the Bulldogs fell 3-1 (25-23, 12-25, 24-26, 20-25) at the Robert E. Curry Christian Life Center.
Cumberland (19-7, 6-2 TranSouth Conference) fell behind early in the opening set, trailing by as many as four points before scoring seven consecutive points and forcing Martin Methodist (11-12, 6-3) to take a timeout. The RedHawks weren’t able to stop the run as Arnold had back-to-back kills – both off assist from Samantha Bellar – and Bellar and Angelyn Stanton teamed up on a block to push the Bulldog lead out to six points.
Later in the set, with CU leading 22-17, the home team took its second timeout and proceeded to score six of the next seven points to knot the game at 23 apiece before the Bulldogs won the set on a pair of MMC errors.
CU took the first point of the second set, but allowed five straight points to fall behind again. At 7-4, Cumberland went on a 5-0 run to take its first lead of the set, but it was short lived as the RedHawks won the next 12 points. The Bulldogs tried twice unsuccessfully to stop the momentum with a timeout, but it wasn’t until a service error ended the stretch.
Three straight Cumberland points cut the deficit to eight, however Martin Methodist closed out the game with five of the last six tallies. The Bulldogs managed only four kills and had six errors in the set for a negative .069 hitting percentage.
The momentum stayed with the RedHawks as they scored the first six points of the third set before another service error put Cumberland on the board for the first time. The Bulldogs started to claw back and eventually took the lead at 15-14 on a block by Stanton and Arnold. The advantage grew to three points following an ace by Brooke Bowers.
Martin Methodist rallied with five straight points to regain the lead at 23-21. Laura DeGear killed the next point and the Big Rapids, Mich., joined Arnold on a block to tie the game. The teams traded the next two points before a pair of errors did in the Bulldogs.
For the second straight set Martin Methodist made it a 6-0 game. In the fourth Cumberland responded with seven straight to take the lead before the RedHawks scored the next four and 10 of the next 12. The Bulldogs were down 24-16 and made an attempt at a comeback, but were only able to manage four points as MMC claimed the victory.
Taylor Denney paced CU with 18 assists, while Jaclyn Rodriguez tallied a team-high 16 digs. Laura DeGear totaled seven blocks, including one solo, and Stanton finished with two solo and six total blocks.
Cumberland concludes its four-game road swing with a trip to Union University Tuesday before returning to the Cedar City to host rival Trevecca Nazarene University next Thursday.