Volleyball falls to Berry 3-1 in SAA regular season finale

ROME, Ga.—The Birmingham-Southern volleyball team dropped its final regular-season Southern Athletic Association match of the season, 3-1, Sunday afternoon to league-leading Berry College at the Cage Center in Rome, Ga.

BSC falls to 18-8 on the season and to 7-7 in SAA play. Berry improves to 21-5 overall and 13-1 in conference, avenging their only conference loss, which was handed to them by BSC on Oct. 5 in Birmingham.

The Panthers came out on the attack in the first set after kills from senior Alex Bothe and junior Kathleen Pfitzer, accompanied by a service ace from junior Katie O'Bar, gave BSC an early 4-2 lead. Berry responded with a 10-1 run that would spark them to the 25-14 opening set victory.

Set two was a close affair with neither team enjoying a lead of more than three points until late in the frame. BSC pulled to within two late after a kill from junior Meredith Lee, one of her team-high 10 on the afternoon, brought the score to 21-19. Berry would pull away scoring the final four points to earn the 25-19 set victory.

The Panthers claimed an early lead in the next set, powered by two straight kills from freshman Laura Van Peursem at the onset, in a set in which they would never trail. Berry would respond with two points to tie the set at two points apiece. BSC came back with five straight points to take a lead that would never be smaller than two for the rest of the set. A kill from Berry late brought the score to 23-19, but a Pfitzer kill and Berry attack error sealed the 25-19 set win for the Panthers.

Berry used four runs of three consecutive points or more to take the final set 25-12.

The Panther offensive effort was aided by sophomore Katie McCormack's team-high 21 assists and sophomore Emily Dang's 16 assists. Defensively, BSC was led by sophomore Lauren Bedford's 15 digs.

"Today Berry was the better team," Head Coach Judy Green said. "We fought hard all day but just could not find a way to score points in a row. Now that our regular season's body of work is complete we look forward to preparing for the post-season. This is one determined group to get to the top of the mountain. The true fun starts now."

BSC closes out the regular season with a trip to Memphis, Tenn., for the Rhodes Classic on Saturday, Nov. 2. The Panthers will take on Mississippi College at 11 a.m. and follow the match up with another at 1 p.m. against Martin Methodist.