LEBANON, Tenn. – The battle for second place in the TranSouth Conference volleyball race tightened up a little more Monday night as the Cumberland University volleyball team lost its third TranSouth Conference match in four outings, falling to Freed-Hardeman University, 3-0 (25-21, 29-27, 25-18), at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center Monday evening.
Cumberland (22-8, 7-4 TranSouth) fell to third in the conference standings, a game behind the Lions and 1 1/2 games behind league-leading Union University.
Despite eight ties and six lead changes, the opening set was primarily controlled by Freed-Hardman (10-8, 9-4) as the visitors never allowed Cumberland to gain more than a one-point advantage. FHU opened the set with a 3-1 lead before a serve Lion serve into the net started a three-point run that ended with Kaysi Arnold and Laura DeGear teaming up on a block that gave CU its first lead.
The Lions eventually went up by four at 13-9 before a 6-1 Cumberland run that included two kills from both Angelyn Stanton and DeGear. The teams swapped the next two points before back-to-back Freed-Hardeman tallies gave the visitors the lead again.
Cumberland’s final lead of the first set came on a kill by Mackenzie Gass off an assist from her sister, Meghan, putting CU on top 18-17. From there the Lions went up 22-18 before the home team cut the deficit to one-point, which Freed-Hardeman followed with three straight points to close out the set victory.
The Bulldogs, who have had trouble this year closing out sets on the initial set-point, fell victim to another late-set breakdown in the second period. After leading or holding at least a tie to that point in the set, Cumberland gave up a 4-0 run that gave the Lions the lead at 22-21.
CU effectively used a timeout to stop the momentum and took a 24-22 lead following the break, forcing Freed-Hardeman to take a timeout of its own. Three straight Lion points, extending the set and causing CU head coach Dwayne Deering to use his final stoppage to halt play.
The Volleydawgs responded with a pair of tallies that included another Arnold/DeGear block. After the teams traded the next two points, FHU used a kill and a pair of Bulldog errors to take the 2-0 advantage in the match.
Cumberland started off slow in the third set, trailing 5-2 and having already used one timeout, before the Bulldogs rattled off six straight points and forcing a Freed-Hardeman timeout. CU scored once more out of the break, but the Lions started a 8-1 stretch that gave them the lead for good.
The home team committed eight errors in the final set, nearly negating all of its nine kills. Cumberland hit just .037 in the third after having marks of .286 and .263 in the first two sets.
Stanton, who was named the Music City Star of the Game, finished with seven kills and one error, hitting .500 for the match. Arnold also tallied seven kills, while Taylor Denney finished with a team-best 22 assists.
The Bulldogs travel to Bethel University Wednesday before returning home to face Lyon College on Friday and closing out the regular season against Union on November 4.