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Bison Fall in PAC Semifinal to Thiel

Nov. 2 - CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – The Bethany College volleyball team was denied its second straight appearance in the tournament final, as the third-seeded Bison suffered a 3-1 loss (18-25, 25-18, 25-27, 22-25) to #2 Thiel Friday night in the PAC Tournament semifinal at Thomas More.

9735Goodwill12.jpgThe Bison went down a set out of the gate, as the Tomcats scored five of the first six points. Bethany managed to get within three at 21-18, but TC scored the final four points to close out the set. In the second set, the teams were tied at 14 before Bethany went in front with seven straight points. Senior Lauren Goodwill (right - Canton, Ohio/Jackson) had three kills during that run and she put another away for the final point to give the Green and White the set and even the match at 1-1.

The third set went down to the wire. Bethany scored the first three points of the set, but it proved to be the largest lead by either team in the set. The Bison led 23-22 when Thiel scored two straight to get to set point. A kill by BC sophomore Jordan Fenner (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North) tied the score and the teams swapped points before the Tomcats scored the final two points to take the set and a 2-1 advantage.

The lead in the fourth set swung back and forth between the two sides. The fifth lead change came when two Thiel attack errors helped give Bethany a 20-18 lead. Unfortunately for the Green and White, there was one more swap left. The Tomcats went on a 6-1 run to get to match point. A Goodwill kill kept the Bison hopes alive, but Thiel netted that final point to advance to Saturday’s title match against #1 Thomas More, who beat Westminster in the opening semifinal Friday.

4857Kurtz12.jpgFor Bethany, Goodwill set a career-high with 18 kills and she added four blocks. Fenner and senior Taylor Cassidy (Barboursville, W.Va./Cabell Midland) also notched double digits with 11 kills apiece. Senior setter Jessica Zavatchen (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) finished with a double-double that included 45 assists and 14 digs.

Leading the Bethany defense was senior Katie Kurtz (right - Charleroi, Pa.) with 15 digs, while sophomore Kelly Becquet (Finleyville, Pa./Ringgold) had 14 digs and three aces.

The Bison will now wait until Monday to see if they receive a bid to the ECAC Tournament. Bethany has won back-to-back ECAC titles over the last two years, defeating Saint Vincent in the finals in both tournament finals.