Volleyball wins third straight with 3-1 victory against Rhodes

Alex Bothe (Photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Alex Bothe (Photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern volleyball team won its third-straight match today with a 3-1 decision against Rhodes College at home in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers move to 13-6 overall and remain tied with Berry atop the Southern Athletic Association standings at 8-1; the Lynx fall to 3-17 overall and 1-8 in the conference.

BSC dominated the first set after giving up the first two points to Rhodes, out-scoring the Lynx 9-2 after that to go up 9-4. The Panthers used several mini point runs after that to steadily increase their lead, eventually winning 25-12.

Set two saw Rhodes come out strong, going up 7-3, then 17-11 and 20-13. The Panthers chipped away at the lead bit by bit, cutting the lead to one, 22-21, but the Lynx played to set point, 24-21. BSC would not go down without a fight, though, scoring three straight points to tie it up 24-24. The teams traded points after that, with Rhodes playing to three set points before finally putting it away, 28-27, on a BSC attack error to tie the match at 1-1.

The third set started out close as the teams played to five ties before Rhodes pulled ahead by three, 9-6, and then led 11-8 before BSC scored four straight points to take the lead, 12-11. The Lynx tied it up once more on the next point before the Panthers pulled ahead for good, using two point runs to pull ahead 22-14. Rhodes tried to rally down the stretch, scoring three straight to cut it to 22-17, and the teams traded points before BSC scored the final two points for the 25-18 win to pull ahead 2-1 in the match.

Set four once again started close with the teams playing to five ties to open the set before the Panthers took control, out-scoring Rhodes 19-4 to close out the set, 25-10, and the match.

Junior Alex Bothe led BSC with 12 kills and recorded another double-double with 10 digs. Senior setter Lauren Reibe also had another double-double with 41 assists and 10 digs. Sophomore Kelly Foster also recorded 10 kills, and senior Presley Dickson led with 14 digs. Sophomore Sara Kate Bracewell also had 11 digs and five service aces, and freshman Lauren Bedford tallied 10 digs. Senior Alexis Pappas led at the net with five blocks - one solo and four assists - while sophomore Katie O'Bar had four - three solo and one assist. Bothe also had four block assists.

As a team the Panthers hit .214 for the match, including a .409 showing in the fourth set.

"The number one thing is that it was a great team effort on the floor today," Head Coach Judy Green said. "Three players really stood out: Alexis Pappas, Sara Kate Bracewell, and Alex Bothe. They were outstanding. It was nice to be able to get some playing time for some of our players that have been working hard and earning time in practice. They made their opportunities count today.

"I was very impressed with how, this entire weekend, we kept our composure and kept fighting to find a way to get a win," Green continued. "That's the mark of a very good team, but we still have work to do. We have three matches in five days coming up and this is going to be a challenging stretch."

BSC is at home this Wednesday, facing Millsaps at 7 p.m., followed by two road matches next weekend against Sewanee on Friday and Centre on Saturday. At Wednesday's match against Millsaps, the Panthers are hosting a Stand Up to Cancer benefit, asking for $2.00 donations at the door and selling t-shirts for $15.00. Popcorn and drinks will be available free of charge, and there will be free photo sessions for families of cancer patients or survivors.