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Oct. 17 -DEFIANCE, Ohio – Playing their second tri-match in as many days at Defiance, the Bethany College volleyball team suffered two close losses Sunday to Hanover 3-1 and Defiance 3-2, which dropped their record to 19-9 for the year.

In the first match of the day, the Bison took a 1-0 lead by winning the opening set 25-19, but the Panthers rebounded to take the next three by scores of 25-17, 25-16, 25-22. Junior Carrie Talkington (Moundsville, W.Va./John Marshall) continued her torrid play of late with 17 kills, while junior Jessica Zavatchen (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) totaled 34 assists.

Zavatchen was one of three Bison, including juniors Jessica Cole (Connellsville, Pa.) and Tiffany Hoffman (Cambridge, Ohio/John Glenn), to finish with 12 digs, while sophomore Katie Kurtz (Charleroi, Pa.) led the team with 13 digs. At the net, sophomore Meredith Holl (Mogadore, Ohio) made three solo blocks.

In the final match of the weekend, Bethany would again take a 1-0 lead. Defiance trailed by as many as five in the first set, but bounced back to tie the score at 23 before back-to-back kills by Holl and sophomore Taylor Cassidy (Barboursville, W.Va./Cabell Midland) closed out the set in Bethany’s favor 25-23.

The next three sets would all go down to the final point. The Yellow Jackets held off a late BC charge in the second to come away with a 25-23 decision. Defiance was serving for the third set with a 24-23 lead, but a kill from Cole and two straight by sophomore Lauren Goodwill (Canton, Ohio/Jackson) pushed Bethany to a 26-24 triumph. In the fourth, after Defiance scored eight in a row to take a 16-8 lead, Bethany nearly came all the way back, getting as close as 23-22 before the Yellow Jackets scored twice to take the 25-22 win and force a fifth set, the third time in four matches over the weekend that the Bison were forced to go the distance.

In that fifth set, BC took an early 6-4 lead, but the home team answered with seven of the next eight points to take an 11-7 lead. Bethany never moved closer than three points the rest of the way before Defiance closed out the match with a 15-10 margin.

Zavatchen set a new career-high by passing out 62 assists and had three teammates finish with double figure kills. Talkington was joined by Cassidy with 16 kills each and Goodwill hit 11. Talkington also led the blockers at the net with six, while Hoffman brought up 23 digs in the back.

Bethany will return to PAC competition Wednesday night when they host the conference leader Thomas More (19-7, 10-0) at 7 p.m. The Saints swept BC 3-0 in their first match-up Oct. 9, but the Bison will be trying to remain unbeaten at home after winning their first seven matches of the season at Hummel Field House.