Nov. 9 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bethany College volleyball team saw their run at a Presidents’ Athletic Conference championship come up just short as the Bison were defeated, 3-2, by Thomas More College in the championship finals on Saturday. Bethany showed a lot of heart in the game, coming back from a 2-0 deficit, but fell in five sets; 21-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-23, 9-15.
In the first two sets the Saints came out fast, hitting .448 in game one and holding the Bison to a -.073 hitting percentage in game number two, to take the first two games, 25-21 and 25-18, respectively.
In game number three, the Saints looked as though they were going to run away with the match, jumping out to an 8-3 lead in the game. However, back-to-back kills by Breana Harris (Severn, Md./Old Mill) and Mackenzie Lauber (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Mansfield) pulled Bethany back within three, 8-5.
Thomas More would then push the lead out to six, 12-6 before the Bison went on a 9-3 run, capped by kills from Dakota McKenzie (Hopewell, Ohio/West Muskingum) and Dylana McKenzie (Hopewell, Ohio/West Muskingum), which knotted the game at 15-15.
With the game tied at 16-16, Bethany took its first lead of the set on an attack error by the Saints and never looked back, outscoring Thomas More 9-3 to take the game 25-19. The winning point came on a kill by Lynsie Mandt (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) which made the match, 2-1 in favor of Thomas More.
Riding the high from game three, Bethany jumped out to an 11-4 lead in game number four, which included three-straight kills by Dakota McKenzie and two kills by Lauber, as well as a service ace from Kelly Becquet (Finleyville, Pa./Ringgold). Thomas More would not make it easy on the Bison in game four, however, and went on a large run of their own, outscoring Bethany 12-5, to pull the game even at 16-16.
Bethany then put the game away, using three kills by Harris to seal the game, 25-23, to send the match to a fifth and decisive game five.
Thomas More controlled the fifth game. With the game tied at 2-2, the saints rattled off nine-straight points, which included five attack errors by the Bison, and Bethany could not recover, dropping the game, 15-9, and the match, 3-2.
Offensively, the Bison were held under a .100 hitting percentage for just the fifth time this season, finishing the night with a .097. Harris led Bethany with 13 kills while Dakota McKenzie finished with 12 and Dylana McKenzie, 11. Lauber added seven kills to go along with 38 assists while Mandt totaled five in the game.
Defensively, Julia Mouch (Toledo, Ohio/Sylvania Southview) led the way with 22 digs, while Haley Santymire (Clifton, Va./Centreville) finished with 14. Lauber also notched double digits in digs, finishing with 13. It marked the second double-double of the tournament for Lauber.
The Bison finish the season with a 28-10 overall record. Having no seniors on the roster, head coach Courtney Kline believes this is just a stepping stone for the future.
“Obviously we aren’t too pleased with the outcome tonight,” remarked Coach Kline, “but we can’t be disappointed with what we have been able to accomplish this season.
“These girls left it all on the floor tonight and I believe this loss is going to make them even hungrier to succeed in the future.”