Volleyball downs No. 22 Chicago in NCAA Regional, 3-1

Marjorie Ward and Laura Van Peursem go up for the block against Chicago in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Regional (photo by Leigh Hadaway)
Marjorie Ward and Laura Van Peursem go up for the block against Chicago in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Regional (photo by Leigh Hadaway)

MOUNT BERRY, Ga.—After making a dramatic comeback late in the fourth set, the Birmingham-Southern volleyball team won its first-ever NCAA post-season match on Thursday, defeating No. 22 Chicago, 3-1, at the NCAA Regional hosted by Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga.

The Panthers move to 25-5, while the Maroons end their season at 20-13. BSC will face first-seeded No. 2 Emory, who defeated the eighth seed Greenville today 3-1, tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. ET.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • BSC won by the scores of 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 26-24.
  • After pulling out to a 3-1 lead to open the match, both teams used short scoring bursts to trade leads several times throughout the first set; BSC trailed 18-17 before using a 7-4 run to win.
  • Set two was similar, although the Panthers led 22-20 before Chicago put together a 5-1 run to even the match at 1-1.
  • The teams traded points throughout the first half of the third set, and the Maroons pulled ahead, 16-15, before BSC proceeded to use a 10-2 run to win, 25-18, and pull ahead in the match.
  • The Panthers came out strong in the fourth set, racing out to a 12-6 lead, but Chicago stormed back, using a 14-1 run to go up 20-13.
  • BSC responded in kind, scoring six straight points to cut it to 20-19, and the teams traded points after that before the Maroons reached set point at 24-21.
  • The Panthers mounted an impressive performance after that, with a kill by freshman Marjorie Ward, a service ace by sophomore Rachel Lee, and a kill by senior setter Katie McCormack tying it up 24-24; two straight service aces from Lee after that put the match away, capping a five-point run to advance to the second round of the NCAA Championship.

NOTABLE

  • Freshman Jeneva Salter, who was named South Region Freshman of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) earlier today, led BSC with 14 kills, followed by junior Laura Van Peursem with 11.
  • McCormack, who was announced as an AVCA All-Region selection today, led with a match-high 45 assists and also had nine digs and four blocks.
  • Senior libero Lauren Bedford tied a match-high 20 digs, followed by Ward with 18, sophomore Rylee Segrest with 17, and freshman Melaina Hissam with 10.
  • Van Peursem led at the net with six blocks.
  • The Panthers' 25 wins mark the most for a BSC team since the 2008 season, when the Panthers went 27-7.
  • Today was BSC's third time this season facing a ranked opponent; the Panthers lost to No. 2 Emory in the season opener, 3-0, and swept No. 17 Berry on Sept. 19 at home, 3-0.
  • Today marked the Panthers' first-ever match against the University of Chicago.
  • Tomorrow's match against Emory will be the 12th meeting between the schools, with the Eagles holding a 7-4 advantage in the series.