Danville, KY- The volleyball team kicked off the 2017 season on the road this afternoon competing in a tri-match at Centre College. The tri-match consisted of the host Colonels, the Mountaineers and the Spalding University Golden Eagles.
Berea took the court against Centre in the first contest of the tri-match. A kill by Kristin Barnes in the first set tied the score 1-1 before the Colonels scored five of the next six points to move ahead 6-2. Points from Katherine Gonterman and Alexandra Wilkins virtue of kills brought the Mountaineers back to within two points of the lead. A seven point run by Centre gave them a 13-4 as they eventually pushed their lead out to a 25-14 first set win.
Berea raced out to a 3-1 lead in the second set with help from a kill from Megan Voorhees and a block by Gonterman. After the Colonels tied it 5-5, two kills by Isis Hill along with an attack error by Centre aided Berea in taking an 8-5 advantage. The set became tied again at nine points each before a 4-1 run by the Mountaineers pushed the team up on the scoreboard 13-10. The set remained close as Berea continued to hold the lead until the score became tied at 16-16 as the Colonels broke the tie for their first lead of the set and held on to the lead to take the second set 25-21.
Much like the second set, the third set also saw the Mountaineers race out to a 3-1 advantage. A 3-3 tie started a see-saw effect as the set saw multiple ties and lead changes between the two teams. Berea took a 13-11 lead off a Barnes kill but the lead would not last for the Mountaineers as a 17-17 tie changed in favor of Centre and shortly changed to a 25-20 third victory for the Colonels, which resulted in a 3-0 win for the hosts.
Hill led the way on the offensive end with seven kills to go along with 18 assists from Wilkins. Destiney Balser was the leader on the defensive end with 20 digs to go along with a block each from Hill, Gonterman and Addie Bowman.
The second contest of the tri-match for the Mountaineers came against the Golden Eagles. Berea took 4-1 lead before Spalding came marching back to tie it at five apiece. Berea maintained the lead after multiple ties until the Eagles took a lead with the score 11-10. Unlike earlier in the day though, the Mountaineers were able to turn the tide back in their favor as they scored five of the next six points to take a 15-12 advantage. The game soon became tied 19-19 and a kill by Voorhees started a streak of five straight points to help Berea take the first set 25-20.
Spalding jumped out to an 8-3 lead in opening minutes of the second set before the Mountaineers score four straight points to make the score 8-7. The scoreboard stayed in favor of the Eagles until with the score tied 14-14, four straight serves from Bailie Parker resulted in four straight points for Berea, one of which was a service ace, giving the Mountaineers their first lead of the set, 18-14. The momentum stayed on Berea's side as they took the second set 25-20, taking a 2-0 lead.
The teams headed to the third set with the Mountaineers needing to take one more set to win the match. Berea looked well on their way to doing that as a Balser service ace gave the team an 8-5 advantage in beginning of the set. A 14-12 lead in favor of the Mountaineers quickly turned into a four point deficit as six straight points from the Eagles pushed them ahead 18-14. Spalding held on to the lead to take the third set 25-20.
As the fourth set began with a 3-3 tie, five straight points which included a service ace from Balser to go along with kills from Barnes and Hill gave Berea an 8-3 lead. The ball continued to fall in favor of the Mountaineers until three straight points from the Eagles gave them a 15-14 advantage, a lead on they never gave up, forcing a fifth and final set with a 25-20 win. In the fifth set, Berea jumped out to an 8-2 advantage aided in part by a stretch of six straight points. The cushion the Mountaineers created for themselves disappeared as Spalding pulled within one point, 10-9, before two points, one which was a service ace from Parker pushed Berea ahead 12-9. A kill by Gonterman with the Mountaineers on match point pushed them to 15-13 fifth set victory, as Berea walked off the court with a 3-2 set win, their first win of the season.
Gonterman was the kills leader for the team with 15 while Wilkins finished the match with 28 assists. The team finished with seven service aces (three from Parker, two from Balser along with one each from Wilkins and Hill.) Balser led the way on the defensive end with 20 digs with Barnes also finishing in double-digit digs with 17. Gonterman and Hill finished with two block solos each.
The team returns to the court for their home opener on Tuesday as they welcome Transylvania University to the Seabury Center. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 PM and all the action can be seen here.