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BETHANY SWEEPS PAST STEVENSON INTO ECAC VOLLEYBALL SEMIFINALS
Nov. 10 - BETHANY, W.Va. – Bolstered by 11 aces, including seven from sophomore Katie Kurtz (Charleroi, Pa.), the Bethany College volleyball team swept past sixth-seeded Stevenson (Md.) University 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-20) Wednesday night in an ECAC South Region Volleyball Tournament quarterfinal at Hummel Field House.
The victory, which was the Bison’s first-ever in postseason play, improved their record to 22-13, which ties for the second-most wins in a single season with the 1992 team that finished 22-15. It also advances BC into Saturday’s semifinals against #2 Swarthmore (Pa.) College, who defeated #7 DeSales 3-1.
The match will be played at top-seed Saint Vincent, who beat #8 Penn State Behrend 3-1 on Wednesday as well. The Bearcats will take on #4 Penn State-Altoona in the other semifinal match after the Lions knocked off #5 Moravian 3-1. The semifinal winners will square off in the championship match on Saturday at Saint Vincent as well.
In Wednesday’s win, the Bison rode the hot serving hand of Kurtz to a 25-21 victory in the opening set. She hit a pair of aces to propel BC to a 4-1 lead out of the gate, but the Mustangs (25-9) rallied and used a string of six consecutive points to help build a 14-12 advantage. Junior Carrie Talkington (Moundsville, W.Va./John Marshall) started to turn the momentum with a kill and Kurtz followed by crushing three straight aces to put Bethany on top for good 17-14.
Stevenson tried to rally and cut the deficit to two on five separate occasions down the stretch, including the final time at 23-21. But a Talkington kill and another ace from Kurtz finished the set and gave the Green and White a 1-0 lead.
In the second set, the visitors scored the first point, but the Bison countered with two in a row and didn’t trail the rest of the set. The Mustangs tied the score eight times, but could never take the lead and the Bison finally seized control with the score knotted at 19. That’s when sophomore Meredith Holl (Mogadore, Ohio) put one away, which was followed by a Talkington kill. Another Talkington kill helped salt away BC’s 25-21 win and raise their lead to 2-0.
While the opening two sets were close, Bethany used a big run in the third to take control and then held off a late Mustang charge. Leading 11-9, back-to-back kills from sophomore Taylor Cassidy (Barboursville, W.Va./Cabell Midland) and Talkington ignited a 7-1 spurt that gave the Bison their largest lead at 18-10. Stevenson chipped away and moved within 22-20, but they would get no closer. Bethany scored three straight to complete the sweep, with the final two points coming on an ace from junior Megan Hoffman (Cambridge, Ohio/John Glenn) and a kill from Holl.
In addition to the big serving night, sophomore setter Jessica Zavatchen (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) passed out 26 assists, while Talkington racked up a team-best 10 kills and Cassidy put down seven. Talkington also notched five blocks and junior Tiffany Hoffman (Cambridge, Ohio/John Glenn) brought up 10 digs.
Times have been set for Saturday’s action at Saint Vincent. Bethany will take on Swarthmore in the second semifinal at 2 p.m. after the opening match of the day between Saint Vincent and Penn State-Altoona at 12 p.m. The ECAC Championship match will take place at 5 p.m.