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Oct. 26 - BETHANY, W.Va. –The Bethany College volleyball team held a two sets to one lead over visiting Thiel, but the Tomcats rallied to squeeze out a 3-2 (21-25, 25-16, 17-25, 25-10, 15-11) victory over the Bison.

The Bison (20-11, 8-6) used big opening sets from junior Carrie Talkington (Moundsville, W.Va./John Marshall) and sophomore Taylor Cassidy (Barboursville, W.Va./Cabell Midland) to take a 1-0 lead. The duo up front each had four kills to push BC out to a 17-8 lead. The Tomcats (19-10, 11-2) stormed back to get within 20-18, but three more kills from Cassidy down the stretch sealed the 25-21 opening-set win.

After Bethany scored the first two points of the second set, Thiel tallied five straight and never looked back in evening the match with a 25-16 win. The third set saw another outburst from Cassidy. With the Bison leading 12-10, she put away three straight kills to give BC a five-point cushion. Junior Jessica Cole (Connellsville, Pa.) chipped in with a trio of kills to extend the lead to 22-15, and the final three points were kills from Cassidy in a 25-17 Bethany win.

The fourth set started as a mirror image of the second, as the Tomcats rolled out to a 15-10 advantage. Bethany slowly chipped away and behind two kills from Cole and one from Meredith Holl (Mogadore, Ohio), they trimmed the TC lead to 19-18. But that was as close as the Bison could get, as Thiel posted four consecutive points and went on to force a winner-take-all set with a 25-20 victory.

Bethany used unforced errors from Thiel to take the lead in the fifth set and a pair of kills from sophomore Lauren Goodwill (Canton, Ohio/Jackson) made it a 10-6 score when the Tomcats used a timeout. The visitors rattled off three straight points before a kill from Holl pushed it back to an 11-9 Bison lead. However, it was the final point of the night for BC, as Thiel scored six consecutive points to take the 15-11 win and earn the hard-fought victory.

Cassidy led the Bethany hitters by matching her career-high with 17 kills, while Cole, who also had 22 digs, finished with 14 and Talkington put down 11. Junior setter Jessica Zavatchen (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) joined Cole with a double-double by recording 45 assists and 12 digs. Others reaching double figures in digs was junior Tiffany Hoffman (Cambridge, Ohio/John Glenn) with 29, sophomore Katie Kurtz (Charleroi, Pa.) with 18 and junior Megan Hoffman (Cambridge, Ohio/John Glenn) with 14.

The Bison return to action Thursday at 7 p.m. with another key PAC match against Westminster at Hummel Field House. Bethany needs a win to keep its hopes alive for a home match in the opening round of next week’s PAC Tournament.