Volleyball splits to open 2014 season

Head Coach Jeff White, Rita and Jennifer McKannan
Head Coach Jeff White, Rita and Jennifer McKannan

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern volleyball team opened the 2014 season on Friday at home, splitting with a 3-0 win against Mount St. Joseph University before losing a tough 3-2 decision to Covenant College.

The Panthers are hosting the 2014 Drury Inn & Suites MckAttack Bash, named in honor of David McKannan, the late father of former BSC volleyball player Jennifer McKannan. Mr. McKannan suffered from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as "Lou Gherig's Disease", and the Panther volleyball team challenged the BSC community to raise money for ALS. In two weeks, the team raised over $1,600, and Head Coach Jeff White presented the donation, which will be made in David's name, to Jennifer and her mother, Rita, prior to the first match today.

BSC went on to win that match, downing Mount St. Joseph University in three sets. Seniors Kathleen Pfitzer and Meredith Lee led with eight kills apiece, with Lee committing only one error for a .389 attack percentage. Junior setter Katie McCormack led with 25 assists, and senior libero Lauren Bedford had 10 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Laura van Peursem led at the net with seven total blocks.

The Panthers then faced Covenant College in the late match tonight, and dropped the first two sets, 25-20 and 25-18, before rallying to win sets three and four in exciting fashion, both by the score of 26-24, to send the match to the fifth set. BSC kept it close to start the deciding set, and led 12-11 down the stretch before the Scots put the match away with four straight points courtesy of two kills by Cora Schroeder and two service aces by Schuyler Moore.

Sophomore Lynsie Byrd led the Panthers with 16 kills, while Pfitzer also had 14, and McCormack led with 48 assists. All three players also recorded double-doubles, with Byrd scooping up 25 digs, Pfitzer recording 13, and McCormack recording 12. Bedford led with 29 digs, while Lee had 17 and junior Emily Dang had 10. Van Peursem led at the net again, this time with five total blocks.

BSC is back in action tomorrow in the MckAttack Bash, facing LaGrange at 10:30 a.m. and Piedmont at 3:30 p.m. in Bill Battle Coliseum.