Sept. 23 - NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Although it was able to take the opening set Friday at Westminster, the Bethany College volleyball team could not hold off the Titans, who rallied for a 3-1 (21-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-19) victory in New Wilmington.
The setback was the first of the year for the Bison, who dropped to 14-1 overall and 4-1 in the conference. Westminster improved to 10-5 and 3-1 in the conference.
The opening set went back-and-forth and was tied at 20-20. Junior Taylor Cassidy (Barboursville, W.Va./Cabell Midland) delivered kills sandwiched around an ace from senior Carrie Talkington (Moundsville, W.Va./John Marshall). After a service error, Bethany clinched the set after a block by freshman Breana Harris (Severn, Md./Old Mill) and junior Lauren Goodwill (Canton, Ohio/Jackson) and then a Titan hitting error.
The next set saw BC rally from an early five-point deficit, but the Titans surged ahead 23-20. A kill by Harris was followed by two putaways from Talkington and a Westminster hitting error had Bethany one point away from a 2-0 advantage. The home team bounced back with a kill by Tara Ott and they scored the next two points to take the set 26-24 and even the match.
The Bison were put in an early hole in the third set when Westminster started with nine consecutive points and the hosts led by as many as 10 at 18-8. Four kills from Talkington and three from Goodwill sparked an 11-4 spurt from the Bison to get them as close as 22-19, but the Titans scored three straight to earn the 25-19 decision and take a 2-1 advantage.
The fourth set was even at 9-9 before Westminster took the lead for good with three consecutive points. Another three-point surge from the home team expanded their margin to 19-14 and the Bison were unable to get any closer than four the rest of way. A kill by Rebecca Riemer, her 13th of the evening, finished the set and match off, as well as sent Bethany to its first defeat of the season.
Two Bison finished the night with double digit kills, led by Talkington, who had 22, as well as a .429 hitting percentage, while Goodwill posted 10 kills. Junior Jessica Zavatchen (Uniontown, Pa./Laurel Highlands) amassed 47 assists and the BC defensive charges were paced by senior Tiffany Hoffman (Cambridge, Ohio/John Glenn) with 20 digs.
Bethany will have a chance to get right back on track Saturday with a tri-match at Waynesburg. The Bison start the day with a contest against Washington & Jefferson at 1 p.m. and follow that by taking on the host Yellow Jackets at 3 p.m.