On Tuesday night, the Bryan College volleyball team silenced fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference rival Tennessee Wesleyan University in straight sets, as the Lions muzzled the Bulldogs 25-20, 25-20, and 25-17 to extend their winning-streak to five. The impressive play by Bryan has lifted their overall record to 14-6 and AAC record to 8-2 .
Leading the way on the attack was senior and Calhoun, Ga. native, Emalie Hicks, who averaged an efficient .333 hitting percentage while matching freshman Gigi Ford with nine kills each. Others to chip in on the attack were Anna Owens with eight kills, Janie Smith with four kills, Paige Randolph with three kills, and Rebecca Camacho with a pair of kills.
The Lion’s assists leader was Sidney Pierce who dished out 18 while Jaleigh Rogan notched double-digits with 10. Jessica Towe and Macenzie Krause were able to capitalize on the service line with two aces apiece.
Defensively, it was Rheagan Kean blazing the way with a team-high 15 digs, trailed by Ford’s nine and Krause’s eight. Hicks also made her presence known with a team-leading two solo blocks. Collectively, the Lions totaled 35 kills with a .179 average while holding the Bulldogs to 31 putaways and a mere .055 average.
Set one was the difference maker for Bryan, as they stole the frame from their conference challenger late. The Bulldogs had broken free from their chain and scrambled ahead 17-13, but a kill by Owens sparked a game-changing rally for the Lions. A ball handling error by Tennessee Wesleyan, a kill by Hicks, an attack error by the Bulldogs, and an ace by Krause leveled the score 18-18. Another error by Tennessee Wesleyan allowed Bryan to take control 19-18 where they remained in the lead en route to the 25-20 first set win.
The Bulldogs were unable to recover after the comeback effort by the Lions in the opening frame. Bryan turned an even 9-9 count into a 13-9 advantage in the second set, as they would keep their distance until prevailing 25-20 for a 2-0 edge in the match.
The third and final set was tight until 7-7 when the Lions exploded for an 8-2 run that ended all hope for the Bulldogs, as Bryan earned a comfortable 15-9 lead and never looked back. The gap was briefly narrowed to three points at 17-14, but the Lions remained poised and wouldn’t allow the Tennessee Wesleyan squad any closer. Kills by Owens and Hicks and an attack error by the Bulldogs pushed the Lions on top 20-14. A trio of kills by Owens, Camacho, and Ford and two errors by Tennessee Wesleyan was all Bryan needed to seal the set,25-17, for the 3-0 conference sweep.