Nov. 13 - LATROBE, Pa. – After rallying from a 2-0 deficit to down Swarthmore 3-2 in the semifinals, the third-seeded Bethany College volleyball team swept past top-seed and host Saint Vincent 3-0 Saturday to claim the 2010 ECAC South Region Tournament Volleyball Championship.
The victories also give the Bison a final record of 24-13, the second-most wins in school history behind only the 1987 team that finished 28-22.
In the semifinal round against #2 Swarthmore (20-11), who finished as the tournament runner-up in the Centennial Conference, Bethany dropped the opening two sets 25-18 and 25-19. The Bison were able to stay alive by squeezing out a 25-23 decision in the third set and drew even at two sets apiece with a 25-20 win in the fourth. Fifth sets had not been kind to BC down the stretch of the regular season, as they dropped five of their last six that went the distance. However, this one saw Bethany dominate from start to finish, as they powered past Swarthmore 15-7 to earn the come-from-behind victory and advance to the championship match
Posting a big effort in the win was junior Carrie Talkington (Moundsville, W.Va./John Marshall), who put down 15 kills, totaled five blocks and served two aces. Sophomore Taylor Cassidy (Barboursville, W.Va./Cabell Midland) also had a big match offensively with 14 kills, while sophomore setter Jessica Zavatchen (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) collected 48 assists. Juniors Tiffany and Megan Hoffman (Cambridge, Ohio/John Glenn) paced the backrow defense, as Tiffany brought up 21 digs and Megan finished with 13.
By winning the semifinal, Bethany earned another date with a familiar foe. League rival Saint Vincent, the #1 seed in the tournament, blew past Penn State-Altoona 3-0 in the first semifinal and had taken two of three from Bethany during the year, including a 3-2 victory in the PAC Tournament Quarterfinals.
The fourth match-up of the year between the schools started with an opening set that went down to the wire before the Bison pulled out a 25-23 win to go in front 1-0. Bethany moved to the brink of the title with a 25-21 victory in the second set and then finished off the Bearcats with a 25-21 win in the third. The final point came when the tournament MVP Talkington hammered her team-leading 15th kill of the match and the Bison stormed the court to celebrate the ECAC crown, which is just the third won by Bethany in any sport and the first since men’s soccer captured the 1997 championship.
The stat line for Talkington in the championship match looked very similar to her semifinal performance, as she amassed 15 kills and five blocks again. She finished the year with 419 kills, the second-most in Bethany single-season history, and closed the campaign with 14 consecutive matches with 10 or more kills to average 15.6 during that span.
Zavatchen triggered the offense by giving out 35 assists and the Hoffman sisters again led the defense, with Tiffany bringing up 25 digs and adding in two aces and Megan notching 13 digs.