Bulldogs win Halloween thriller
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Bulldogs win Halloween thriller
Jessi Stas led CU with 15 kills in the win against Martin Methodist College. (Credit Steve Wampler)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Jessi Stas had a monster night for the Cumberland volleyball team, capturing 15 kills in an electrifying 3-2 win over Martin Methodist College Wednesday night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.

The win snaps the Bulldogs’ ten game losing streak, with their last victory dating back to October fourth, also at the expense of the RedHawks.

CU (8-24, 1-13) controlled the start of the first set, earning a 10-5 lead before the RedHawks reeled off five straight points to tie the game 10-10. The set was knotted at each point from 11 to 18, before a Rylee Butler kill pulled the Bulldogs ahead 19-18. An attack error by MMC pushed CU’s lead to 20-18, but Cumberland was unable to score again in the set and committed six late errors to drive the RedHawks to a 25-20 victory.

Two early kills by Stas and Butler got the second set rolling for CU. With the game tied 12-12, Butler threw down two more consecutive kills to give Cumberland a 14-12 advantage. The RedHawks stayed close and came back to tie the set at 18-18 before committing two attack errors, giving the Bulldogs a 20-18 lead. Four of the final five points for CU came from four big Stas kills, pushing the Bulldogs to a 25-19 win.

Stas continued her prowess at the net in the third set, giving Cumberland leads at 6-4, 7-6, 8-7, 14-9 and 23-17. Off of the heels of Stas, Mackenzie Gass planted a kill of her own, putting the Bulldogs at game point, up 24-18. MMC was not done fighting, however, and CU strung together six errors to let the RedHawks back in the game at 24-24. A Cumberland timeout was followed by a Gass kill to make it 25-24, and the game ended on an MMC attack error, giving the Bulldogs a 26-24 triumph.

CU struggled early on in the fourth set, quickly falling behind 6-1. The Bulldogs were able to inch closer, trailing 10-8, but a kill and two service aces by MMC built the lead back up to 13-8. The RedHawks kept adding to their lead, eventually winning 25-15 to bring the match to a decisive fifth set.

The Bulldogs started off the final set convincingly, building a 5-1 lead. Three successive kills by MMC’s Ya Zhao lessened CU’s lead to 7-5 before the teams swapped sides of the court at 8-5 on a Desirae Burris kill. Jacklyn Munoz upped the lead to 12-8 on a kill of her own before two Cumberland errors lessened the lead to 12-11. A bad set by the RedHawks put the Bulldogs on the verge of a match victory, up 14-11, and a kill by Stas sealed the win.

Gass totaled 14 kills for CU, Caitlin Carlander had 26 assists, and Brooke Bowers contributed 16 digs.

For the RedHawks, Zhao had a game-high 25 kills, Sophia Paes handed out 41 assists, and Flavia Costa tallied 11 digs.

The Bulldogs are at home again tomorrow night, facing longtime rival Trevecca Nazarene at 6 p.m. CT.