MCKENZIE, Tenn. – After recording more errors than kills the first two sets, the Cumberland University volleyball team dug a hole it could not recover from as the Bulldogs fell two more spots in the TranSouth Conference standings with a 3-1 (17-25, 23-25, 28-26, 17-25) loss to Bethel University Wednesday night at Dishman Gymnasium.
Two conference losses this week have moved Cumberland (21-10, 7-5 TranSouth) from second to fifth in the league. The Bulldogs were third after Monday’s loss to Freed-Hardeman University.
CU has two conference matches remaining, both of which are home contests. The Bulldogs face Lyon College on Friday and Union University on November 4. With two wins and help, Cumberland can still finish as high as a tie for second.
Bethel (19-10, 8-5) scored the first two points of the opening set before serving the next ball into the net – one of five Wildcat service errors in the set – and putting CU on the board for the first time. The Bulldogs scored the next two points, the last coming on a Jessica Gericke kill. From there the home team put up eight of the next 10 tallies to take a five-point advantage.
The Wildcats would eventually stretch the lead to 10 points, cruising to the first set victory.
After tallying just seven kills and committing eight hitting errors (negative .031 hitting percentage) in the first period, the Bulldogs had eight of each in the second set.
Despite the poor hitting in the second, CU nearly took the set as the Bulldogs led as late as 13-12 and forced a two more ties, including 19 apiece. Bethel scored the next three points before Cumberland head coach Dwayne Deering used a timeout to stop the Wildcats’ momentum. CU scored the next point, but Bethel made it set-point with back-to-back Bulldog attack errors.
Another Cumberland timeout, CU scored three times to make it a 24-23 game before a Wildcat kill ended the set.
The two teams went point-for-point until 6-6 before the Bulldogs started a 7-1 run that included a service ace by both Brooke Bowers and Taylor Denney, while Angelyn Stanton added three kills in the stretch. Stanton finished with 11 kills.
With Cumberland leading 17-12, the Wildcats ripped off eight straight points to give Bethel the lead. CU kept battling and kills by Arnold and Samantha Bellar forced a tie at 24. The next four points were split between the two sides, with Laura DeGear scoring the last point on her fourth kill of the set. The Big Rapids, Mich., native ended the day with a team-high 12 kills.
A Stanton kill and a Bethel error gave Cumberland its first set victory since the Bulldogs swept Tennessee Temple last Friday.
CU had 19 kills and hit .247 in the third set, before adding 12 more kills in the fourth.
Cumberland lost the first three points of the fourth set and forced just one tie – at 3-3 – as the Wildcats pulled away and earned the victory, taking the season sweep of the Bulldogs.
The Volleydawgs will host their inaugural “Dig Pink” match. Players will wear special pink jerseys and accessories, and fans are encouraged to wear their pink as well.