GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum women's volleyball team downed Coker in three sets, while setting a new match-high and an all-time record.
Taylor Blythe highlighted the affair by breaking a TU record for hitting percentage in a match, as part of the Pioneers' season-high .321 average. The sophomore finished with 10 kills on 12 swings with no errors, recording a .833 hitting mark. The number tops the figure set by TU Sports Hall of Famer Debbie Varney on September 20, 1994 of .769 (10-0-13).
The Pioneers (8-7, 6-4 SAC) won the match by scores of 25-14, 25-23, 25-20 over the Cobras (4-10, 1-9 SAC). With the victory, Tusculum moves to 5-1 in the friendly confines of Pioneer Arena.
Emily Everton led Coker with seven kills, while 11 assists were dished out by Ashley Carson. Four Cobras recorded a service ace and the libero Gabrielle Milo finished with a team-high six digs. Chelsey Blume notched two block assists at the net.
Alongside the historic performance of Blythe, Emiah Burrowes also had a successful night, recording 10 kills with no errors for a .526 hitting percentage. Gabby Gray and Carli Pigza each collected eight kills to add to the effort. The setting duo of Elise Carmichael and Catherine Clingan dished out all 35 assists for the Pioneers. Carmichael led the way at the service line with three aces, while Gray and Clingan both added a pair. Blythe contributed an ace of her own as well.
Defensively, Burrowes finished with a match-high nine digs with Gray and Carly Sosnowski were credited with seven apiece. At the net, Tatum Thornton was a force, notching five block assists, while Blythe and Burrowes assisted on four and three, respectively.
Coker hit .091 as a team with 25 kills and 18 attack errors in 77 total attempts. Tusculum hit .321, the highest mark of the season, with 38 kills, 12 errors and 81 total attacks. The Pioneers led the Cobras in assists (35-23), digs (28-23), aces (8-4), and total blocks (10-2).
Tusculum held the lead the entire first set, only allowing Coker to tie three times in the frame. After the final tie at eight, the Pioneers won four straight points to stretch the lead, via a solo block from Gray and an ace from Carmichael. The Cobras only scored six more times, while the Pioneers forged on. Set one was fueled by half of Blythe's kills and three block assists from Thornton.
In the second set, Burrowes took over with half of her kills, while Pigza knocked down four in addition. Gray led from the service line, recording her two aces in the frame. The set was the most tightly contested of the night with nine ties and three lead changes. Coker came out strong, eventually leading 13-7 before Tusculum roared back. The Pioneers scored 12 of the next 16 points to regain the advantage at 19-17. Coker tied the set for the final time at 21. Kills from Pigza, Thornton, and Burrowes and a Gray ace solidified the frame victory in the home team's favor.
Coker was determined not to go down without a fight, racing out to a 7-2 lead to start the third set. The Pioneers steadily chipped away before finally tying the frame at 14. Once the score was 15-all, Tusculum took off and never looked back. The Black and Orange notch 10 of the final 15 points, with the match-winning ace off of the serve from Carmichael.
Tusculum hosts nationally-ranked Wingate in Pioneer Arena tomorrow at 2pm in a "Black Out" match, with fans being encouraged to wear black.