HENDERSON, Tenn. –Kaysi Arnold delivered 16 kills and Taylor Denney recorded a double-double to lead Cumberland University to a 3-2 (25-18, 22-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-8) win over Trevecca Nazarene University in an elimination match at the TranSouth Championships Tuesday evening at Freed-Hardeman University’s Sports Center.
In addition to bouncing their rival from the tournament, the Bulldogs (24-12) stayed alive to face Bethel University later Tuesday in yet another win-or-go-home contest at 9:30 p.m. The win over TNU was the fourth of the season for Cumberland.
Arnold’s kill total was the sophomore’s second-highest this season, behind only an 18-kill performance against Martin Methodist College on September 23. For Denney, the double-double marked the 26th time in her career that the senior has accomplished the feat. The Cookeville native has done it eight times against TNU.
Cumberland fell behind in the opening set 8-5 before starting a 9-0 run when Trevecca served the ball out of bounds. Samantha Bellar responded with an ace from the service line and Arnold and Laura DeGear combined for the first of CU’s 16 blocks.
Arnold added a kill and a solo block during the stretch, while DeGear tacked on second block assist with Jessica Gericke and a kill on an overpass.
After a Trevecca kill, the Trojans’ next serve sailed too deep, but TNU was awarded a replay after an inadvertent horn from the scoreboard. The Trojans took advantage with another kill to cut CU’s lead to four points. Cumberland wouldn’t allow its opponent to get any closer though as the Bulldogs slowly pulled away for the victory.
Following a TNU win in the second set, another inadvertent horn and subsequent replay came into play again in the third set.
Cumberland used a 5-0 run to regain the lead and build a four-point advantage before a Trevecca kill stopped the streak. On the next point, Mackenzie Gass spiked the ball onto TNU’s side of the court and as the ball landed the horn went off again. Cumberland won the replay with a kill from Angelyn Stanton, but momentum seemed to swing to the Trojans, who won the next three points to cut the deficit to a single tally.
From there CU scored seven of the next nine to make it a six-point game, but the Trojans rallied to tie the set at 23 apiece. An attack error by Trevecca and a kill by Bellar ended the set.
Despite five kills from Arnold and at least one kill from five other Bulldogs in the fourth, TNU was able to pull out the victory in a set that was tight throughout.
After Trevecca cut the Bulldogs’ fifth-set lead to two points at 9-7, Cumberland got kills from Bellar and Arnold, forcing a Trojan timeout. Three of the next four points to go on the board were TNU attack errors, setting up match point. Arnold closed out CU’s win with a kill off Taylor Denney’s assist. Denney finished the match with 25 assists, while Meghan Gass tallied 16.
Four Bulldogs – Jaclyn Rodriguez (22), Gericke (16), Denney (12) and Brooke Bowers (12) – collected double-digit digs.