LEBANON, Tenn. – After 10 straight wins to open the season, Cumberland University’s volleyball team dropped its first two matches of the year Friday on the first day of Georgetown College’s Rumpke Invitational in Georgetown, Ky.
The Bulldogs (10-2, 1-0 TranSouth Conference) faced their toughest competition yet, playing Union College, which received one vote in this week’s NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 poll, and No. 13 Embry Riddle. Both matches ended in 3-0 losses for Cumberland.
In the match against Union, CU looked to finally find some momentum in the third set, but couldn’t recover from 25-12 and 25-13 losses in the first two sets.
In the final set, Cumberland won seven of the first eight points before Union battled back to slam the door. CU had the chance to force a fourth set and keep an 11th straight within reach, getting to set point at 24-21.
On the first set point, Union hit the ball out, but Angelyn Stanton was called in the net for a blocking error that kept UC’s hopes alive. Union eventually tied the set at 24-24 before CU earned the next point, however a blocking error by Laura DeGear tied the game. Two more Union points ended the match as UC won the third and final set 27-25.
In the match Cumberland committed six blocking errors and 10 errors at the net. Three of the attack errors led to a negative .036 hitting percentage in the opening set as the Bulldogs managed just two kills. CU finished the second set with five kills and four errors before ending the third with 13 kills to just three errors.
The two teams combined to hit .142 with Cumberland only tallying a .102 mark, the Bulldogs’ lowest percentage of the season. The previous low came against Tennessee Temple University Thursday night.
Jessica Gericke finished with six kills and 17 digs to lead CU in both categories.
In the nightcap, ERAU won 25-17, 25-18 and 25-20.
The Bulldogs will continue play in the Rumpke Invitational on Saturday with one more contest in pool play against St. Catharine College at 11 a.m. Cumberland will then play a second match at either 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. against a team from the other pool.