Volleyball sweeps Sewanee in straight sets in SAA Quarterfinals

Katie Johnston (Photo courtesy of Berry College)

ROME, Ga.—Led by freshman Katie Johnston with 12 kills, the Birmingham-Southern volleyball team swept Sewanee 3-0 in the first round of the Southern Athletic Association Volleyball Championship, Friday evening in Rome, Ga.

The fourth-seeded Panthers move to 19-10 overall with their fifth-straight win, and advance to the semifinals to face top-seeded tournament host Berry tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Eastern. The fifth-seeded Tigers fall to 14-11.

Set one was as close as they come, with the teams playing to 18 total ties and almost literally trading points up to the 20-20 mark, after which BSC out-scored Sewanee 4-1 to pull up 24-21. The Tigers scored once more before the Panthers put it away 25-22 on a kill by freshman Katie McCormack.

Sewanee controlled the second set to start, going up 18-9 before BSC came alive and scored nine straight to tie it up 18-18. The Tigers pulled back up 22-20, but the Panthers scored three straight to take the lead 23-22. Sewanee tied it up again after that 23-23 but BSC scored two straight points with a kill from Johnston and a service ace by sophomore Katie O'Bar to win 25-23.

After an early 2-2 tie in the third set, BSC pulled ahead and stayed ahead, going up 14-6 and then 18-8. Sewanee out-scored BSC 9-3 after that to cut it to 21-17, and then cut it to 23-20 down the stretch. A kill from Johnston brought the Panthers to match point, 24-20, before Sewanee scored once more, but BSC scored the match-winner on a kill by senior Shelby Moore to win 25-21.

Johnston led all players with 12 kills and committed only two errors, hitting .455 for the match. Moore also had 11 kills and hit .364. Senior Lauren Reibe led with 21 assists, while freshman Emily Dang added 12. Senior Presley Dickson led the defense with 12 digs and McCormack recorded 11. O'Bar led with three blocks.

The Panthers hit .225 for the match, including a .361 showing in the first set.