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Oct. 5 – BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College volleyball team overcame an opening set loss to take three straight and in the process, avenge its only loss of the year to Westminster, as the Bison defeated the Titans 3-1 (22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 27-25) at a raucous Hummel Field House Wednesday night.

Bethany (20-1, 9-1) scored the opening three points of the first set for its largest lead, but Westminster, who gave the Green and White its only defeat of the year by a 3-1 count back on Sept. 23, came back and led by as many as 22-19. Kills by BC senior Carrie Talkington (Moundsville, W.Va./John Marshall) and junior Taylor Cassidy (Barboursville, W.Va./Cabell Midland) helped trim the deficit to one, but the Titans scored the final two points for a 25-22 win and a 1-0 advantage.

The Bison led by as many as four at 9-5 in the second set following a putaway from freshman Jordan Fenner (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North), but the visitors came right back with five of the next six points to draw even and the score stood at 21-21. A kill by Talkington put Bethany on top for good and the set was closed on a tip from junior Lauren Goodwill (Canton, Ohio/Jackson) for a 25-23 triumph that tied the match at 1-1.

The third set also went back-and-forth until a late BC surge turned the tide. It was tied at 16 all, until a kill from freshman Breana Harris (Severn, Md./Old Mill) gave Bethany the lead for good. Kills from Fenner and Cassidy and two blocks sparked a 7-2 run by the Bison and they had their largest lead of the night at 23-18. The Titans tallied three straight points, but Talkington and Goodwill wrapped kills around a Westminster point to secure a 25-22 decision and leave the Bison one set away from victory.

The Titans looked ready to extend the match to a deciding set early on, as they streaked out to a 14-9 lead in the fourth. A Cassidy kill sparked a 6-1 spurt for Bethany to even the set at 15-15 and the wild momentum swings continued. A string of three straight points from Westminster helped give the visitors a 23-20 lead, but a Talkington spike was the first of four consecutive from Bethany and they were serving for the match at 24-23. The Titans answered with two straight to be a point away from victory, but Cassidy tied it up at 25 with a kill. After another Bethany point, Goodwill put one away for the final tally in a 27-25 win.

With the win, Bethany has now earned just its fourth 20-win season in the program’s history. The Bison are now tied with the 1991 team that finished 20-18 for the third-highest win total in a single season behind only last year (24-13) and 1987 (28-22).

A trio of hitters spearheaded the BC attack Wednesday, led by Talkington, who hammered 15 kills and added seven blocks. Right behind her was Fenner with 14 and Cassidy posted 11 kills and five blocks, while Goodwill had eight kills and a .533 hitting percentage. Junior Jessica Zavatchen (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) engineered the offense with 47 assists and added eight digs on the defensive side.

Leading the back row efforts for Bethany were their other two seniors, as Tiffany Hoffman (Cambridge, Ohio/John Glenn) brought up 22 digs. That gives her 1,992 for her career, just eight away from becoming just the second Bethany player in history to reach 2,000. Also reaching double figures was Megan Hoffman with 15 digs.

Bethany will be back on the court Saturday for a non-conference tri-match at Ohio Wesleyan. The Bison will take on Hiram (16-6) at 3 p.m. before stepping on the court against Ohio Wesleyan at 5 p.m. This will be the second meeting this year between Bethany and the Bishops, as BC won the first match-up 3-0 at the Rose-Hulman Tournament Sept. 11.