Volleyball loses tough match to Millsaps in five sets

Lauren Bedford (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)
Lauren Bedford (photo by Jimmy Mitchell)

JACKSON, Miss.—The Birmingham-Southern volleyball team dropped a five-set conference heartbreaker to Millsaps Wednesday evening at the Hangar Dome in Jackson, Miss.

The Panthers fall to 16-6 overall and 5-5 in the Southern Athletic Association; the Majors move to 12-12 overall and also now stand at 5-5 in the SAA.

The first set started out close, with neither team leading by more than three up to the point where Millsaps led 14-12. The Majors took over after that, using an 11-2 run to close out the set and win 25-14. Set two was close almost the whole way, with the teams playing to eight ties up to 19-19 before the Panthers used a 6-1 run to win 25-20 and even the match at 1-1.

BSC opened the third set by going up 6-1, after which Millsaps scored seven straight points to go up 8-6, and the rest of the set was close the whole way. Neither team led by more than three, and the teams traded leads several times before the Panthers were able to win 25-23 on a kill by senior Alex Bothe, putting BSC up 2-1. The Panthers pulled ahead 7-3 in the fourth frame and led 12-9 before the Majors put away nine straight points to pull ahead 18-12. BSC responded with four straight points, and Millsaps responded with five straight points to bring the score to 23-16. The Panthers were able to score two more points before the Majors won 25-19, sending the match to set five.

The teams played to a 5-5 tie in the deciding set before Millsaps scored five straight points to pull ahead 10-5. They traded points after that, and the Majors led 13-8 before the Panthers scored three straight points to cut it to 13-11, prompting a Millsaps timeout. The teams traded points one more time, playing to 14-12, before a kill by Lexus Andrews put the match away for the majors.

Bothe led the Panthers with 15 kills and also posted 22 digs, her seventh double-double of the year. Sophomore libero Lauren Bedford was impressive on defense with 35 digs, and junior Meredith Lee also had a double-double—also her seventh of the season—with 11 kills and 20 digs. Sophomore setters Emily Dang and Katie McCormack each posted 24 assists.

"We put ourselves in a position to win the match in four, but we were our own worst enemy," Head Coach Judy Green said. "We beat ourselves and that is hard to swallow. Everyone has a responsibility to be a little more disciplined and focused. We need to realize that there are times we need to put the ball in play in order to get a chance to stay in the rally. We have but one choice and that is to learn from this one and move forward."

The Panthers return home this weekend for the last homestand of the regular season, hosting Centre at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sewanee at 2 p.m. on Sunday, which will be Senior Day for Bothe and Sarassa Burrus.