Panthers drop five-set thriller to No. 6 Emory on the road

Shelby Moore

ATLANTA, Ga.—The Birmingham-Southern volleyball team put up a fight against No. 6 Emory Tuesday evening, winning sets three and four after dropping the first two before falling to the Eagles 3-2 on the road at the Woodruff Physical Education Center.

The Panthers fall to 10-5, while the Eagles move to 16-2.

Emory won the first two sets, 25-20 and 25-19, although BSC kept it interesting in both sets by leading several times and always staying close on the Eagles' heels.

Set three was another close one, with the teams staying even throughout until Emory pulled ahead 23-20 down the stretch. Five straight attack errors by the Eagles, however, and BSC won the set 25-23.

Things were close yet again in the fourth set. Emory pulled ahead 15-11 at one point, after which the Panthers rattled off seven straight points to pull ahead 18-15. BSC would not relinquish its lead again in the set, winning 25-22 to send the match to five sets.

The Eagles came out strong in the deciding set, pulling out to a 5-1 lead and then going up 11-2 with six straight points. The Panthers put up a fight but fell 15-6 in the final set to lose the match, 3-2.

"This was the highest level of volleyball we have played all season," Head Coach Judy Green said. "It took us two sets to be able to control their offense when their setter was on the front row, but once we did we were able to win the third and fourth sets.

"I would like to have seen us be more productive offensively," Green continued, "but give Emory credit: they out-dug us by 17 digs. We certainly continue to grow and we are doing nice things on the court."

Senior Shelby Moore and junior Alex Bothe led BSC with 15 kills each; Moore had only two errors for a .361 attack percentage. Senior setter Lauren Reibe - who was named Southern Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Week earlier today - posted yet another double-double with 36 assists and 12 digs. Senior libero Presley Dickson led with 20 digs.

The Panthers resume SAA action this weekend on the road, taking on Berry on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET and Oglethorpe on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.