CU falls in thriller in TSAC opener
Monday, November 7, 2011
CU falls in thriller in TSAC opener
Amanda Wiseman recorded 10 kills and 13 digs in CU's 3-2 loss Monday against Martin Methodist. (Credit Steve Wampler)

PULASKI, Tenn. – Cumberland came back from two sets down and had the lead in the final set, but six kills in the final game from Ya Zhao was too much, as Martin Methodist outlasted the Bulldogs, 3-2, in the first match of the TranSouth Volleyball Championships here Monday at the Christian Life Center.

With the loss Cumberland (12-24) falls into the loser’s bracket and will play again at Noon on Tuesday against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

Mackenzie Gass led the Bulldogs with 15 kills and Amanda Wiseman added 10, including five in the final two sets. Wiseman also recorded 13 digs and Brooke Bowers added 10.

The Bulldog fell behind early, playing poorly in the first set but much better in the second, only to find themselves down 2-0 after a 25-23 loss in the second set.

CU found a rhythm in the third set behind four kills from Gass and three by Rylee Butler as well as blocks from Lauren Carter and Meghan Gass and a solo block by Karli Collins on the next-to-last point in a 25-15 victory.

The Bulldogs took an early lead in the fourth set with two kills from Butler and a block by Mackenzie Gass and Butler. Cumberland never relinquished the lead in the set, but the RedHawks made it interesting down to the bitter, tying the score at 23 with three blocks by Mariah Beverly and Paula Sioto. Consecutive kills by Carter and Mackenzie Gass evened the match at two sets apiece.

The fifth set featured seven ties and neither team led by more than two points at any time. Meghan Gass’ one-handed desperation punch provided the first point of the set and her quick set gave CU another point in the early going. Zhao was a nemesis at different times during the match for the Bulldogs, but never more so than in the final set, when she totaled six kills against just two errors.

She also combined with Beverly for a block, but two straight kills by Mackenzie Gass evened the score at nine. Butler and Mackenzie Gass’s block gave the Bulldogs a 10-9 edge and Precious Sanders’ kill for the RedHawks hit the antenna, pushing the lead to 11-9.

But four straight points for MMC pushed the home team ahead for good, including a block by Ann-Katherin Kuehorn and Ulirike Gebhardt, a service ace from Kuehorn and another kill by Zhao.

Zhao recorded the final two kills for the RedHawks as well in a 15-13 final set victory.

Meghan Gass led all players with 42 assists.