GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - The Mars Hill volleyball team (4-3, 3-1 SAC) took the fifth and deciding set to pick up their second straight victory, defeating Tusculum (3-5, 1-3 SAC) Friday evening on the road.
Trailing 6-9 in the fifth, Mars Hill was able to reel off six straight points to hold a 12-9 advantage late in the contest. Following a Pioneers' timeout, Tusculum responded by taking the four of the next five points to even the score at 13. The teams traded a point apiece until a kill from Sarah Goddard and ball handling error by the Pioneers allowed Mars Hill to claim their third South Atlantic Conference win of the season.
The first set saw Mars Hill trailing 10-12 before a six-point run allowed them to hold a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the frame. Tusculum pulled within one on two separate occasions, but were unable to regain the lead and entered the second down 1-0.
The teams played a tightly contest second set until the final moments. Following Tusculum's second timeout of the frame, the Pioneers returned to the court with a vengeance, ending the set on a 4-0 run to even up the match at 1-1. Tatum Thornton had two blocks to close out the stanza.
Similar to the second set, the teams were tied late in the third until three straight Pioneers' points, including two kills by Gabby Gray, gave Tusculum the 2-1 lead heading into the fourth set. Battling to extend the contest, the Lions were dominant in fourth, leading throughout the whole set. Lauren Phillips recorded five of her team-high 14 kills in the frame.
Mars Hill capitalized on Tusculum's 20 service errors on the night, while outblocking the Pioneers 10 to six.
Gray led all players with 23 kills on 57 attempts, hitting .333 on the day. She collected the double-double with 23 digs.
Phillips also recorded a double-double, leading the Lions with 22 digs. Goddard added 11 kills and three block assists while Sally Anne Johnson recorded nine kills and six blocks (three solo, three block assists) on the evening. Jordan Schmucker had 25 assists.
The Lions travel to Wise, Virginia Saturday afternoon to take on UVa-Wise. First serve is scheduled for 5 p.m.