Sept. 18 - BETHANY, W.Va. – After outlasting Geneva to win a 3-2 (25-11, 22-25, 26-24, 21-25, 15-13) thriller in the opening match of the day, the Bethany College volleyball team rolled past Grove City 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-12) to finish off their home tri-match Saturday at Hummel Field House.
In the first match against Geneva, Bethany (10-1, 2-1) took a 25-11 win in the initial set by scoring 17 of the final 20 points, four of which came off kills from sophomore Taylor Cassidy (Barboursville, W.Va./Cabel Midland). In the second set, the Bison trailed for much of it until a string of four straight points gave them a 17-15 lead. Geneva (10-2) answered back with five in a row to go up 20-17 and held on for a 25-22 win to even the match at 1-1.
The Golden Tornadoes scored the first four points of the third set, forcing the Bison to play from behind again. They leaned heavily on sophomores Lauren Goodwill (Canton, Ohio/Jackson) and Meredith Holl (Mogadore, Ohio) to overcome the deficit, as Goodwill hammered six kills and Holl pitched in with a block, a kill and an ace, which gave BC a 22-19 lead. Geneva fought back with four in a row and led 24-23 before Bethany mounted their final rally. Kills by junior Carrie Talkington (Moundsville, W.Va./John Marshall) and Goodwill put the Bison back in front and they closed out the set 26-24 to lead 2-1.
The fourth set was close throughout until Geneva strung three straight points together to go in front 21-18 and they went on to force the fifth set with a 25-21 win. Bethany had contributions from numerous sources in the deciding set, as Goodwill and Cassidy had two kills each early and the Bison took the lead for good on a Talkington block. She added two more kills after that and a Holl block put BC on the brink of the win at 14-11. Geneva scored two points to cut it to 14-13, but following a Bethany timeout, the winning point came on a service error, giving the Bison a 15-13 decision and the win.
Junior setter Jessica Zavatchen (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) set a career-high with 56 assists in the win and added 14 digs. Three different hitters recorded double digit digs, led by Cassidy with 17, Goodwill with 14 and Talkington, who also added five blocks, with 13. Junior libero Tiffany Hoffman (Cambridge, Ohio/John Glenn) also set a career-best with 36 digs on the defensive side.
The final match of the day pitted Bethany against conference foe Grove City and after falling behind 6-4 in the opening set, BC tallied seven of the next eight points and continued to pull away to a 1-0 lead. Holl had two kills and an ace to spark the rally and chipped in two more kills down the stretch of the 25-16 win.
In set #2, junior Jessica Cole (Connellsville, Pa.) recorded three straight kills and an ace from Tiffany Hoffman gave Bethany a 5-1 lead and Grove City (3-7, 1-1) was never closer than three points the rest of the set. The 25-15 victory was closed out by a pair of freshman when Arielle Elsass (Canton, Ohio/Jackson) ripped a kill and Chelsea Sroka (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward) served an ace to send BC to the third set.
Bethany clinched their second PAC win of the year with a 25-12 win in the third set, as Cole and Goodwill each hit four kills. Goodwill led the Bethany attack overall with 10 kills, while Cole and Holl each had nine. Cole also had 13 digs, which was behind only Tiffany Hoffman (19) on the team. Zavatchen was strong again with 36 assists and four blocks.
The Bison will try to continue their best start in school history Wednesday night when they travel to Waynesburg for a PAC match at 7 p.m.