Nov. 8 – BETHANY, W. Va. – For the second time in three seasons, the Bison volleyball program is in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championship tournament finals, as the team defeated Westminster College, 3-2, in semi-final action on Friday evening. The Bison won the five set thriller; 25-21, 21-25, 25-14, 19-25, 15-8.
In the first set, the Titans led just once, getting a service ace on the first point of the game to go up 1-0. After that, the Bison rattled off a 10-4 run which included three-straight kills by Breana Harris (Severn, Md./Old Mill) to go up 10-5. Bethany would then increase its lead to as many as nine (20-11) on a kill by Sadie Davenport (Newark, Ohio/Lakewood). Westminster would not go away, however, and would cut the Bison lead to as close as three, 24-21, before Harris ended the game with her fifth kill to give Bethany the 25-21 win in game one.
In game two, the Bison once again found themselves down by a small margin early (2-0) and once again roared back with a large, 12-4 run, to go up 12-6. However, it was Westminster who would get the better of the game. Facing a 17-10 deficit, thanks to a kill by Dakota McKenzie (Hopewell, Ohio/West Muskingum), the Titans battled back to outscore Bethany, 15-4, to take game two 25-21, and notch the match at a game a piece.
Game three was not as close as the Bison used six kills by Dylana McKenzie (Hopewell, Ohio/West Muskingum) and five from Harris, while never trailing in the game, to go on for the 25-14 win in game three.
Westminster would not go away, however, putting on the pressure in game four. Getting three big kills by Megan Romocean, the Titans jumped out to an early, 16-9, lead and would hold on for the six-point win, 25-19, to force a pivotal game five.
In the fifth set, the Bison proved to be too much for the Titans, as Bethany once again opened a four-point lead on route to a 15-8 win in the game. Three kills by Dakota McKenzie and two by Davenport served as the catalyst in the seven-point, decisive game, victory which gave the Bison the 3-2 match win and the chance to play for the PAC title.
“It was such a great all-around game,” said head coach Courtney Kline, who has the team back in the PAC Championship game for the second time in three seasons. “You could just tell that our girls really wanted it out there. Westminster is a really good team, so we expected a tough match, but I’m just so proud of the way they persevered.”
Dakota McKenzie was the offensive leader for the Bison tonight, as she became the second Bethany player to record 20 kills in a game (Harris has accomplished the feat twice). McKenzie finished with 20 kills on 41 attempts while hitting .341.
The Bison also received double-digit kills from Dylana McKenzie (16) and Harris (15). Mackenzie Lauber (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Mansfield) added nine kills, and Davenport finished with six. Along with her nine kills, Lauber also finished the day with 50 total assists and 18 digs; making her just one kill shy of her second triple-double of the year.
Defensively, the Bison held the Titans to a .170 hitting percentage, while collecting 96 total team digs. Julia Mouch (Toledo, Ohio/Sylvania Southview), who was recently named a Capital One Academic All-District II selection, was just one dig away from her season high as she finished with 27. Lauber had 18 while Kelly Becquet (Finleyville, Pa./Ringgold) and Haley Santymire (Clifton, Va./Centreville) finished with 17 and 12, respectively.
The Bison have earned the right to play for the PAC title, where they will take on #3 Thomas More College, who defeated #2 Geneva College, 3-0, in the other semi-final match of the evening. The Bison and Saints will play for conference supremacy at 4 p.m. in the Hummel Field House.