Bison Sit Atop PAC After Taking Down Geneva & Thiel
Sept. 22 - BETHANY, W.Va. – In a tri-match featuring three of the top programs in the PAC, the Bethany College volleyball team kept its conference record unblemished with 3-1 victories over defending league champion Geneva (22-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-18) and Thiel (25-23, 25-23, 24-26, 25-10).
With the wins, the Bison have now won eight in a row and stand at 14-3 overall and 5-0 in the PAC, which is the best start to conference play in the program’s history.
In the opening match of the day, the Bison faced Geneva for the first time since the Golden Tornadoes defeated BC last November to win the league tournament. Bethany was put on its heels early with Geneva rolling out to a 12-3 lead in the first set and the GTs would hang on for a 25-22 win to take a 1-0 lead. The match was evened when BC scored six of the first eight points and behind four kills from senior Lauren Goodwill (Canton, Ohio/Jackson), the Green and White took the second set.
The third set was tightly-contested until a Goodwill spike ignited a 7-0 Bethany surge that gave them a 16-11 lead. Geneva was never closer than four the rest of the way and the Bison went up 2-1 with the 25-18 decision. The third set played out similarly, as Bethany trailed 14-13 until a Goodwill kill started a run of three straight points and Bethany didn’t trail again. Sophomore Breana Harris (Severn, Md./Old Mill) completed a big match with two kills, a block and an ace to account for four of BC’s final six points in the 25-18 win.
Harris’ line at the end of the match included a career high 14 kills, five digs, three blocks and two aces. Goodwill chipped in with 10 kills, as did senior Taylor Cassidy (Barboursville, W.Va./Cabell Midland), who made it a double-double with 12 digs. Senior setter Jessica Zavatchen (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) recorded a double-double as well with 38 assists and 11 digs and the back row work was spearheaded by freshman Julia Mouch (Toledo, Ohio/Sylvania Southview) with 15 digs and sophomore Kelly Becquet (Finleyville, Pa./Ringgold) with 10.
Bethany would square off with another conference unbeaten in the final match of the day, as Thiel stayed perfect in the PAC with a 3-1 win over Geneva (11-4, 4-2) in the middle match. The initial set between the Bison and Tomcats was highlighted by six kills and an ace from Cassidy, as BC held off a late charge for a 25-23 win. IN the second set, a 19-15 Green and White lead slipped away behind a 5-0 TC run and the visitors were in front 23-33. But Cassidy delivered two more kills and Bethany rallied for another 25-23 triumph to go in front 2-0.
Thiel (9-5, 4-1) led for much of the third set and seemed to be in control at 23-20. Bethany rallied with four straight points, but the Tomcats stayed alive with the final three of the set to take it 26-24. The Bison didn’t have to come from behind in the fourth, as they streaked to a 9-1 lead and were never threatened. A Cassidy kill and two blocks assisted by sophomore Megan Beebe (Irondale, Ohio/Indian Creek) late in the set helped Bethany complete the sweep of the tri-match by closing out the dominating 25-10 victory.
A trio of Bison seniors carried the Green and White to the victory. Cassidy set a career high with 25 kills and also brought up 10 digs, while Goodwill put down 12 kills and was in on four blocks. Zavatchen’s 53 assists was her second-highest total of the year and she made it her seventh double-double of the season with 12 digs. Beebe led blocking efforts with five and Mouch brought up 13 digs to lead the Bison.
Bethany will try to remain undefeated in the conference and extend their winning streak to nine Tuesday night when it hosts Grove City. First serve is slated for 7 p.m.