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Bethany Earns Three-Peat as ECAC South Volleyball Champions

Nov. 10 -BETHANY, W.Va. – By defeating Cabrini (Pa.) College in the semifinals and Moravian (Pa.) College in the final match Saturday at Hummel Field House, the top-seeded Bethany College volleyball team captured its third consecutive ECAC South Region Tournament title and sent its winningest senior class in program history out as champions.

The 3-0 wins in matches over Cabrini (25-15, 25-11, 26-24) an7341Cassidy12.jpgd Moravian (25-16, 26-24, 25-18) also gave Bethany a final record of 31-8 this year, which equals the program’s single-season mark for victories originally set last year. The three ECAC crowns are also the most by any varsity program at Bethany, eclipsing the men’s soccer team which has a pair of ECAC titles to its credit.

In the opening semifinal, Bethany was tied with Cabrini (20-10) at 4-4 when senior Taylor Cassidy (right - Barboursville, W.Va./Cabell Midland) had a kill and two aces and BC led the rest of the set. Back-to-back kills from senior Lauren Goodwill (Canton, Ohio/Jackson) and sophomore Breana Harris (Severn, Md./Old Mill) closed out the first set with a 25-16 win for the Bison.

The second set was never close, as Bethany tore off a string of8876Holl12.jpg 13 consecutive points, fueled by four aces from Cassidy, to construct a 19-3 lead. The Green and White completed the 25-11 set-two win with a kill by senior Meredith Holl (right - Mogadore, Ohio) and BC was a set away from a berth in the finals. That last win would not come easily, as the Cavaliers led late 20-18. But four straight Bison points, three off Cassidy kills, lifted the Bison into the lead.

Cabrini would battle back one more time, fending off two match points to draw even at 24-24, but Bethany finished off the 26-24 victory with back-to-back kills from sophomore Jordan Fenner (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North) and Harris.

The Bison rode the efforts of three seniors to the title match. Cassidy had 14 kills and a career-high nine aces, while Goodwill pounded down 11 kills and senior setter Jessica Zavatchen (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) recorded a double-double with 31 assists and 11 digs. Pacing the squad in the back row was freshman Julia Mouch (Toledo, Ohio/Sylvania Southview) with 16 digs.

In the second semifinal, #2 Moravian added to its school-record total for victories by besting Swarthmore 3-1 (25-22, 25-27, 25-21, 25-19). The Greyhounds won their 29th match of the season behind 19 kills from Taylor Jennings, 17 kills and 12 digs from Samantha Savite and 42 assists and 20 digs from Kelly Brown. For the Garnet (20-7), Kathryn Montemurro led the team with 15 kills and Allison Coleman sent out 33 assists.

In the championship match, an 8-1 Bethany surge in the middle of the opening set pushed the home team to a 20-10 lead. After Moravian crept back within seven, kills from senior Katie Kurtz (Charleroi, Pa.), Fenner and Goodwill completed the 25-16 win and BC was up 1-0.

Bethany nearly let the second set slip away after taking a 20-16 advantage. The Greyhounds went on a 6-1 run and kept charging until they took a 24-23 lead and were serving for the set. But Bethany denied that chance on a shared block by Harris and Zavatchen, then won the set with consecutive kills from Fenner and Bethany was on top 2-0.

4176ZavatchenECACMOP.jpg In the final set, a 6-1 run, highlighted by two kills and a block by Harris, gave Bethany a comfortable 13-7 lead. Moravian was never closer than three the rest of the way, although after falling behind 21-13, they clipped the Bison lead down to 22-17. Bethany stopped that momentum with a Zavatchen tip for a point and championship point came on a kill by Holl that brought the Bison bench streaming onto the court to celebrate the third consecutive ECAC crown.

Leading the way in the victory was Zavatchen (pictured with ECAC representative Natalie Hozak). After registering 31 assists, nine digs and three blocks in the triumph, she was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Her passes set up Goodwill to finish with 12 kills in the final and Fenner stepped up with 10, while Mouch led the defensive efforts with 10 digs.

The ECAC championship was a fitting end to the careers of seniors Cassidy, Goodwill, Holl, Kurtz and Zavatchen. The class compiled an overall record of 102-42 during their time, including a perfect 9-0 in ECAC Tournament matches.