LEBANON, Tenn. – Jaclyn Rodriguez made an impressive debut for Cumberland University, helping the Bulldogs to 19 straight points to open their first match of the season, a 3-0 win over Tennessee Temple University. The Bulldogs later defeated Mountain State University, 3-0, in the Volleydawg Classic at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
Rodriguez, a transfer from John A. Logan College, served nine aces during CU’s powerful run, which started with a kill by Jessica Gericke, who came to Cumberland via JALC last year.
Tennessee Temple scored its first point of the match when Rodriguez’s last serve of the first set landed just outside the side line. TTU scored just one more point in the set as the Bulldogs won 25-2. CU had an attack percentage of .750 with nine kills on 12 attacks, while the Crusaders finished with a negative .375.
Cumberland (2-0) earned a 25-12 victory in the second set, as Rodriguez tallied two more aces and Kaysi Arnold pounded four kills and an ace of her own. Meghan Gass also found success from the service line, collecting five aces. The Bulldogs also recorded four total blocks with Laura DeGear and Angelyn Stanton each having one solo and one assist. Freshman Danielle Girardeau added two block assists.
In the third set, the Bulldogs again forced Tennessee Temple into a negative attack percentage as the Crusaders had six errors and just one kill. Lauren Carter recorded four aces and Gass had two more.
In all the Volleydawgs tallied 26 aces against the visitors. Taylor Denney paced Cumberland with 13 assists, while Mackenzie Gass and Arnold each finished with five kills.
Cumberland 3, Mountain State 0
Arnold’s 10 kills, including four in the final set, led Cumberland to its second three-set victory of the day.
Cumberland opened the match with a 25-11 victory in the first set, winning 14 of the last 18 points, including a kill from behind the 10-foot line by Rodriguez off an assist from Denney. During the run Girardeau had two of her four kills in the set, which led the Bulldogs.
On the strength of a 17-4 run to finish the set, CU claimed a 25-8 win in the second set. The stretch included 11 straight points with Denney at the service line, where the senior recorded a pair of aces. Gericke tallied five kills in the set, including the final point, which landed just inside the back-right corner.
The final set was tight throughout, with Cumberland never stretching its lead to more than six points in the 25-21 win. After splitting the first 12 points of the set, the Volleydawgs posted four straight points to open their lead to four and after Mountain State closed to within two, CU went on another quick 4-0 run. The Cougars battled back to get to within one at 22-21, but a Girardeau kill and two MSU attack errors ended the match.
Rodriguez earned Music City Star of the Game honors for the day.
The Volleydawg Classic continues Saturday with the Bulldogs playing two more matches. CU will start the day at 9 a.m. against Pikeville College before taking on Faulkner University at 11 a.m.