LEBANON, Tenn. – The Cumberland University volleyball team fell to Shawnee State in three sets Saturday on the final day of the TranSouth/Mid-South Volleyball Classic, splitting its two contests for the day after the Bulldogs downed St. Catharine College, 3-0, earlier in the day.
Cumberland (15-4) held only one lead in the match, going up 3-2 in the third set as the visitors were too much to handle as the Bulldogs fell in straight sets – 25-16, 25-16, 25-18.
The loss to SSU marked the first time this season that Cumberland has been defeated at home, snapping an eight-match winning streak. Since the beginning of the 2008 campaign, the Bulldogs have won 83 percent of their matches in the months of August and September.
Shawnee State dominated the first set, taking a 7-2 lead and forcing CU coach Dwayne Deering to use both of his timeouts early. The Bears won at least three straight points on four occasions, while Cumberland was only able to get back-to-back points four times.
The Bulldogs were unable to gain any momentum in the second set SSU held the lead the entire period. Cumberland got to within a point three times, the latest coming at 6-5, but the Bears answered with a 9-2 stretch that gave them a comfortable lead. A block by sisters Meghan and Mackenzie Gass ended the run, but CU couldn’t capitalize, winning the next point, but never getting any closer than six points.
After Cumberland gained its lead, the Bears quickly regained the advantage with three straight points and eventually pushed their lead out to seven points. Trailing 18-11, the Bulldogs put together their first string of at least three straight points, winning four to make it a three-point game, but Shawnee State claimed seven of the final 10 points to close out the contest.
Jaclyn Rodriguez, who was named the Music City Star of the Game, collected a team-high 14 digs, while Meghan Gass and Taylor Denney had 14 and 10 assists, respectively. Cumberland combined for 30 kills with no Bulldog registering more than five.
The Bulldogs resume TranSouth competition when they travel to rival Trevecca Nazarene University Tuesday. CU faced the Trojans in a non-conference matchup earlier this month in the Scott Jones Classic, winning in five sets. Cumberland will also play at home next week, taking on Martin Methodist College on Thursday.