JACKSON, Tenn. – Cumberland University closed out its four-game road swing with its third loss of the road trip and second in a row as the Bulldogs fell to TranSouth Conference leader Union University, 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-21), Tuesday at Fred DeLay Gymnasium.
Coupled with last Thursday’s loss to Martin Methodist, CU (19-8, 6-3) now sits 2 1/2 games behind Union (15-4, 8-0) in a tie with the RedHawks for second place in the league.
Cumberland scored the first two points of the match on a pair of Union errors before the homestanding Bulldogs scored seven of the next nine to take the lead for good. CU, which hit .034 in the opening set, took a timeout but gave up another point before finally tallying its first kill of the match to make it an 8-5 game when Angelyn Stanton pounded one into the middle of Union’s side of the court.
After a UU point, Cumberland scored three straight on kills by Laura DeGear and Jessica Gericke and an ace from Brooke Bowers to make the deficit a single point. From there Union went on a 8-1 run to build its largest advantage of the set. CU got to within two points at 24-22, but a kill closed out the set win for Union.
CU again jumped on top in the second set, this time going up 4-0 and then 6-1. After Union used a timeout, the home team ripped off six of the next seven points to knot the game at seven apiece. UU took the lead at 9-8 and eventually built it up to three points before Cumberland was able to tie the game one last time at 14-14.
The visiting Bulldogs had 11 kills in the second set, hitting .158, while Union killed 29 percent of its attacks. After a tie at 15 apiece, Union posted the next four tallies and never looked back, winning the set by six points.
The third set was a back-and-forth affair with the teams combining for 10 ties and six lead changes. Although unable to build more than a three point advantage, Union controlled the early part of the set until CU used a 5-1 run to take its first lead of the set on a kill by Kaysi Arnold from Taylor Denney’s assist. A kill from Union and another Denney-to-Arnold kill kept Cumberland on top 14-13. Arnold finished the night with eight kills to pace the Bulldogs, while Denney posted a team-high 17 assists.
UU posted three straight points before Cumberland did the same. CU’s second tally of the stretch came when Samantha Bellar nearly went into the stands to save a ball that Jaclyn Rodriguez then sent over the net from well outside the playing surface. After each team passed it over one time, a Union attack error gave CU the point.
Cumberland’s last lead came at 20-19 before Union closed out the match with a 6-1 run.
Meghan Gass and Rodriguez tallied a dozen assists and digs, respectively. Stanton led CU with four blocks.
Cumberland returns home to the Cedar City Thursday night to take on Trevecca Nazarene University. The Bulldogs are looking to finish the season sweep of their rival after claiming a pair of five-set victories earlier this year.