LEBANON, Tenn. – Mackenzie Gass posted 11 kills and Lauren Carter recorded eight, but Bethel University was too strong at the end of sets, pulling out each one in a 3-0 victory over Cumberland in volleyball action Wednesday night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
With the loss the Bulldogs (12-23, 4-10 TranSouth) will be the No. 5 seed in next week’s TranSouth Championships and will face fourth-seeded Union University in Pulaski, Tenn.
Cumberland played pretty well for most of the match, but the Wildcats (17-12, 13-1) came up with the big points, posting the victory and the regular season league championship.
Bethel took an early lead in the opening set behind two kills apiece from Sashalee Wallen, Adrianna Bookout-Gonzalez and Shea Sheppard. CU battled back to 13-12 with a service ace from Lacey Gregory and two attack errors by the Wildcats, but BU answered with three kills from Thaise Vieira.
Even then two kills by Gass kept Cumberland within striking distance, but a block by Wallen and Amanda Walton and a service ace from Macy Kint gave BU a 25-22 victory.
In the second set Cumberland was the aggressor early, with a back-row attack from Brooke Bowers and two kills by Amanda Wiseman. The Bulldogs lead stretched to 15-9 after a kill from Jaclyn Jordan, but Bethel responded with a 10-2 spurt highlighted by four kills from Pollyanna Vitel.
Wiseman’s kill tied the score at 17, but Vieira’s spike put the Wildcats ahead for good. Wallen added two kills before Walton’s final one provided a 25-20 win.
Bethel controlled much of the third set from the beginning thanks to three kills from Vieira and two by Vitel. Kint’s ace pushed the lead to 18-11, but CU came back with an 8-3 run that included kills from Wiseman and Carter and aces by Gregory and Jenna Pavan.
Gass’ final kill of the night pulled the Bulldogs within 21-20, but the Wildcats blocked the final four points of the match, with Wallen in on all four joined by Bookout-Gonzalez, Walton and Vitel.
Brooke Bowers finished with 14 digs while Mackenzie Gass collected 24 assists.