LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland fought its way back after losing the first set and then hold on at the end, prevailing 3-1 over Kentucky Christian on Thursday night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center behind 11 kills and 12 digs from freshman Karli Collins.
The Bulldogs (4-2) struggled early and KCU (0-1) took advantage, winning the first set 25-19, with April Hershauer providing five kills for the Knights.
CU led the set early, 7-4, but Kentucky Christian reeled off a 9-2 run with four kills and a block from Hershauer. Cumberland pulled even as late at 19-all, but a kill and two service aces from Danielle Wipert gave the visitors the opening set.
The Bulldogs rebounded in the second set, though neither team played particularly well, both hitting a negative percentage. The teams combined for 12 kills but 18 errors.
CU led for most of the set, including 14-8 after an attack error by KCU’s Magen Daniel. But the Knights won nine of the next 11 points with two kills from Ally Hall and Hershauer and one by Daniel as well as Wipert’s service ace. Two Mackenzie Gass kills stopped the run and Brooke Bowers added a service ace for Cumberland, which won 10 of the final 13 points of the set for a 25-20 victory.
The third set was again tight in the early going, but the Bulldogs pulled away this time and held onto the lead. Amanda Wiseman provided the spark for CU, tallying four kills in the set, including three in a span of seven points, and Gass posted the final kill in the 25-19 CU triumph.
Cumberland carried the momentum into the fourth set and raced out to a 16-7 advantage with kills from Collins, Gass, Wiseman and Rylee Butler, who was a big part of the win at the net. A KCU timeout switched the momentum back to the visitors, who reeled off eight consecutive points with two kills from Hall.
The set went back and forth from that point to the end, with neither team holding more than a two-point lead. Kills from Wiseman, Collins and Jaclyn Jordan set up the final play, a block by Jordan for a 27-25 final set win for CU.
Butler had just two kills but posted two solo blocks and four block assists, as the Bulldogs recorded 12 total blocks in the match. Wiseman finished with seven kills and Gass added six, while Meghan Gass registered a team-high 17 assists. Bowers recorded 12 digs and Jaclyn Rodriguez had 11 for CU.
Hershauer led all players with 15 kills and Hall posted 10, while Melissa Grover registered 22 assists for the Knights. Wipert added 16 digs and Jessi Hartzler had 13 for KCU.
Cumberland plays this weekend in the Scott Jones Classic at Trevecca Nazarene, taking on Kentucky Christian again on Friday as well as Mid-Continent at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. The Bulldogs will play Lindsey Wilson and the host Trojans on Saturday at 3 and 5 p.m.