NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Kaysi Arnold tallied 20 kills in two matches at the Scott Jones Classic at Trevecca Nazarene University Friday as Cumberland University continued its season-opening winning streak with a 3-2 win over Milligan College and a sweep of Brescia University.
The Bulldogs’ seventh straight victory matches their same start a year ago before CU dropped two straight and seven of its next 12.
Milligan pounced on Cumberland early on, handing the Volleydawgs their first defeat in a set this season with a 25-18 win in the opening set before CU bounced back with a 25-15 victory in the second. The Buffaloes took a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-19 win in set three, but Cumberland won 25-22 and 15-12 to close out the contest.
The Buffs opened a seven-point lead at 12-5 to start the match after four straight CU errors, including two on serve receptions. From there Milligan held the Bulldogs at bay, not allowing Cumberland to get any closer than four. The Volleydawgs committed five attack errors in the opening set and hit just .186.
The Bulldogs upped their hitting percentage to .294 in the second with Jessica Gericke leading the way. The senior from Freeburg, Ill., hit .750 in the set with six kills and no errors. After Brooke Bowers served Cumberland’s first set point into the net, Milligan scored another point before Gericke slammed the door on the Buffaloes with a kill off an assist from Meghan Gass.
After the two teams split the first 16 points of the third set, Milligan went on a 7-0 run, forcing Cumberland to take its first timeout. The Buffs eventually got their lead up to eight before CU started to mount a comeback. Twice Milligan successfully used a timeout to end 4-0 stretches by Cumberland. After the second, which came after the Bulldogs made it a one-point game, the Buffs scored five straight points to close out the set.
In a set that remained tight throughout, Cumberland took the lead at 2-1 and held it for the duration of the fourth set, which saw four more kills for Gericke, who finished the match with 13.
Cumberland took a 4-0 lead to start the fifth set and led 8-2 when the teams switched sides of the court. The Bulldogs saw match point four times before finally closing out the victory when Holly English committed Milligan’s 34th attack error of the match.
Arnold also had 13 kills in the match, while freshman Mackenzie Gass notched double-digit kills for the first time with 11. Gass’ sister, Meghan had 12 assists, while Taylor Denney finished with 28 and 10 digs. Jaclyn Rodriguez led the way with 26 digs and Gericke added 13.
Cumberland totaled nine blocks, including a pair of solo blocks by Angelyn Stanton, who also had three assists.
Cumberland 3, Brescia 0
The Bulldogs picked up a quick victory over Brescia, winning 25-9, 25-14 and 25-17 in straight sets.
CU cruised through the first set, winning 15 of the first 19 points of the contest. The Bulldogs hit .462 and held Milligan to a negative hitting percentage in the set. For the match Cumberland hit .289, while the Bearcats managed just .038.
Denney, who had three service aces in the first match, added three more against Brescia, while Samantha Bellar also had three.
Bellar paced the Bulldogs with eight kills, while Arnold added seven. Lauren Carter and Laura DeGear each had five.
Meghan Gass set a personal best with 17 assists and Denney contributed 15.
Cumberland will continue play in the two-day event Saturday, taking on Lindsey Wilson College at 3 p.m. and the host Trojans at 5 p.m.