Nov. 7 – BETHANY, W.Va. – After finishing second in the PAC Tournament and tying the school’s single-season wins record, the Bethany College volleyball team has been rewarded with a bid to the ECAC South Region Tournament for the second consecutive season.
The Bison, who won the ECAC South Championship last year, are seeded second for this year’s tournament and will host #7 Marywood (17-11) Wednesday night at Hummel Field House in a 7 p.m. quarterfinal match. If Bethany wins and #1 seed DeSales (27-6) loses to eighth-seeded Saint Vincent (21-11), BC would host the semifinals and championship match Saturday.
If the top-seeded Bulldogs win their first round match Wednesday, they would host the winner of the Bethany-Marywood match, as well as the victors of the #3 Swarthmore (23-7)/#6 Delaware Valley (21-8) and #4 Moravian (22-12)/#5 Neumann (22-13) contests, which are also scheduled for Wednesday.
By earning the postseason bid, Bethany (28-6) has a chance to break the school record for wins in a season, which was originally established in 1987 when BC finished 28-22. This year’s Bison team started the year 14-0 and completed the regular season with a 14-4 record in the PAC, which was good enough for the second seed and bye into the PAC Tournament semifinals.
In the conference playoffs, the Bison defeated two-time defending champion Thomas More 3-2 in the semifinals to advance to the title match. However, despite taking the opening game, Bethany would fall to Geneva 3-1 in the final and was denied the program’s first-ever PAC championship.
Leading the Green and White attack is senior middle blocker Carrie Talkington (Moundsville, W.Va./John Marshall), who was the ECAC Tournament MVP last year. This season, she leads the PAC in kills (411) and is second in hitting percentage (.368). Junior Jessica Zavatchen (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) engineers the offense from the setter position and with 1,341 assists this year, is within striking distance of her own single-season record set last year (1,392).
In the back row, senior Tiffany Hoffman (Cambridge, Ohio/John Glenn) ranks second all-time at Bethany in career digs with 2,251 and sixth in school history with 150 career service aces.
Marywood hails from Scranton, Pa., and is representing the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC). The Pacers compiled a 17-11 overall record this fall and a 9-3 mark in conference play. Marywood advanced to the CSAC semifinals by defeating Philadelphia Biblical 3-1 in the quarterfinals, but were beaten by fellow ECAC qualifier Neumann in five games in the semifinals.
The Pacers’ attack is led by senior outside hitter Emily Fillman, who is the program’s all-time leader in kills. She was limited to just 18 matches this season, but still turned in 183 kills and an impressive 3.21 kills per game in earning First Team All-CSAC accolades. Picking up Second Team laurels was senior middle hitter Kim Lope, who led the squad with 202 kills and 41 blocks, and sophomore libero Rachel Tollett, who set team-highs with 427 digs and 59 aces.
Like Bethany, Marywood also boasts the program’s single-season and career assists leader. Junior Alyssa Hartranft, who named Honorable Mention All-CSAC, broke both records in the team’s Oct. 22nd win over conference rival Centenary and she ranks third in the league with 8.48 assists per game.