MEMPHIS, Tenn.—The Birmingham-Southern volleyball team extended its winning streak to five on Saturday with a pair of wins at the Rhodes Fall Break Classic in Memphis, Tenn. The Panthers defeated Rhodes, 3-0, and Muhlenberg College, 3-1, and are now 16-4 on the year overall and 5-3 in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA).
The victory over SAA foe Rhodes earned the Panthers a season sweep over the Lynx after a 3-2 victory at Bill Battle Coliseum in Birmingham, Ala., on September 21.
BSC defeated Rhodes by the scores of 25-22, 25-20, 25-13 in the opening match of the day. Down 21-20 in the opening set, the Panthers used four straight points to take a 24-21 lead. The run was powered by two Rhodes errors and a kill by senior Alex Bothe. Following a Rhodes timeout, the Lynx scored one more point before a kill from junior Kathleen Pfitzer put the set away.
In the second set Rhodes raced out to a 14-7 lead, but BSC would rally to score six straight points to close to within one, 14-13. The Panthers closed the set on a 12-6 run and locked up the second set with a kill from Bothe, a service ace from sophomore Emily Dang, and a Rhodes attack error, one of 25 for Rhodes on the match.
The Panthers then used the strength of nine kills, compared to three for Rhodes, in the third set to earn a 25-13 set victory and seal the match. Bothe led the team with eight kills and three aces. Dang and sophomore Katie McCormack recorded 16 and 12 assists, respectively, and sophomore libero Lauren Bedford led with 10 digs.
Against Muhlenberg, the Panthers won 25-20, 19-25, 25-21, 25-19. BSC won the first set pulling away after a tie at 17 apiece. The 8-3 run to close the set was highlighted by kills from sophomore Yorisha Bryant and freshman Lynsie Byrd.
In the second set, Muhlenberg used a .241 hitting percentage and seven BSC errors to earn their only set victory of the match. The Panthers then stormed out to a 7-4 lead in the third only to see Muhlenberg come back to take the lead 8-7 after three consecutive BSC errors. The back and forth nature of the game continued when BSC scored the next 12 points of the set to take a commanding 19-11 lead. Muhlenberg then closed the match to within one at 22-21 before three straight errors against Muhlenberg gave the set to the Panthers.
After falling into a 12-8 hole to open the final set of the match, BSC rattled off six straight points to earn a set lead they would never relinquish. The match ended on a kill from Bryant off an assist from McCormack.
Juniors Katie O'Bar and Kelly Foster each had a team-high 10 kills for BSC. O'Bar hit for a match-high .769 and Byrd tallied a match-high 12 digs. Dang and McCormack once again paced the Panthers in assists with Dang earning 24 and McCormack 20.
"We were just flat out tough today," Head Coach Judy Green said. "We managed both matches very well and got good play from a lot of players. Our setters were able to distribute the ball pretty evenly today and balance helps us be successful. We also kept both teams from running off long strings of points by siding out well."
The weekend road trip continues tomorrow for the Panthers as they head to Conway, Ark., for a conference affair against Hendrix at 1 p.m.