MONTGOMERY, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern volleyball team opened the 2013 season in commanding fashion, sweeping both Agnes Scott College and Mississippi College in the Huntingdon Jubilee, Friday in Montgomery, Ala.
The Panthers opened the first set of the match against Agnes Scott with six straight points, cruising to a 25-14 win. BSC won the second set by the same score, using several short scoring runs to stay ahead of the Scotties, but the third set was a bit closer. The teams played to seven ties before the Panthers used a 9-1 run to go up 23-15, but ASC responded with a 7-1 run to cut it to 24-22, prompting a BSC timeout. The Panthers came out of the huddle and put the match away on the next rally, scoring the match-winning point on a kill by sophomore Mollie Peavy.
In match two against Mississippi College, BSC pulled out to a 10-3 lead and never looked back in the first set, winning 25-17 on a kill by junior Meredith Lee. In the second set, the Panthers pulled out to a 6-0 lead to start things off and led 20-6 and then 24-13 before the Choctaws cut it to 24-19 down the stretch. Another Meredith Lee sealed the deal for BSC, though, as the Panthers won 25-19. Set three was closer throughout, with the teams essentially trading points after BSC led 5-0 to start. Down the stretch, BSC led 23-20, and got the final two match-winning points on attack errors by the Choctaws.
Junior Kathleen Pfitzer led BSC in both matches, recording 12 kills against Agnes Scott and seven against Mississippi College. Sophomore setter Emily Dang led with 17 assists against ASC and 15 against MC, and senior Sarassa Burrus and sophomore Lauren Bedford led with seven digs apiece against the Scotties, and Bedford led with eight digs against the Choctaws.
BSC was impressive in the match against Agnes Scott with 17 service aces, which is fourth on the single-game record list, and the Panthers recorded 14 aces in the second match of the day, averaging 5.1 aces per set over the two matches. BSC out-hit, out-blocked, and out-dug their opponents in both matches as well.
"Offensively we struggled to find a rhythm, but improved as the day went on," Head Coach Judy Green said. "Katie O'Bar and Kathleen Pfitzer were our most productive hitters on the day and they scored a lot of points for us. I felt like we were a little flat in the first match but found more of our competitive personality in the second match. We kept both teams out of system for most of the time, and we got a lot of free balls which we needed to convert at a higher level. Our passing was solid in both matches and we were able to be in system a high percentage of the time. Our poor hitting efficiency is in no way a reflection of how well we passed the ball. We should have hit at a higher level today. We are a daily work in progress and but effort which we played with was very consistent. Always good to get to wins on opening day."
Action continues tomorrow with BSC facing LaGrange at noon and the host Hawks at 6 p.m.