SEWANEE, Tenn.—The Birmingham-Southern volleyball team split today on the first day of Southern Collegiate Conference action, defeating Rhodes, 3-1, but falling to Hendrix by the same score. The Panthers move to 6-10 overall and 1-1 in the SCAC.
BSC took down Rhodes by the scores of 25-23, 25-17, 21-25, and 25-15. Three Panthers tallied 12 kills each in one of the most balanced team offensive efforts of the season. Head Coach Judy Green had nothing but praise for her young team.
"This week in practice we talked a lot about how to minimize our unforced errors and in this match we did just that," Green said. "I thought our team served very well today and kept a lot of pressure on them in serve receive. We were able to take them out of their offensive rhythm by mixing it up from the service line. Senior Alessandra Norman was responsible for two long runs of points for us in the deciding fourth set and that helped us close out the match."
The match also marked one of the best blocking efforts by the Panthers as they notched a season-high 11.5 blocks. Junior libero Presley Dickson anchored the backcourt with 17 digs, followed by freshman Kelly Foster with 12 and sophomore Alex Bothe with 11.
Junior setter Lauren Reibe also dished out 33 assists in the match.
In the second match of the day, BSC dropped a hard-fought contest to Hendrix by the scores of 25-23, 25-22, 23-25, and 25-17.
"Hendrix played a very good match this afternoon and they were able to stay in system for most of the match," Green said. "Our goal going into the match was to be consistent in back-to-back matches, which did not happen. I thought we started out playing very tentative once Hendrix made a run at us. It was a difficult match for us to string point runs together because Hendrix was siding out at a very high rate. I did think we responded well after getting behind two sets to none, but we just could not sustain any type of offensive rhythm. We need to bounce back tomorrow playing more aggressively."
Offensively BSC once again had three players reach double-figure kills, led by junior middle blocker Shelby Moore with 13, followed by Bothe with 11 and freshman Kathleen Pfitzer with 10 in her best offensive performance of the season so far. Reibe also recorded an impressive 47 assists in the match.
"It was good to get some positive offense behind Lauren [Reibe] today when we had three hitters on the net," Green said. "We need to keep finding a way to keep our opposite hitter involved in our offense regardless of how we are passing."
Defense kept the Panthers close in sets one and three as they averaged 20 digs as a team. Dickson once again led three Panthers in double digit digs with 20 scoops followed by Bothe with 14 and Foster with 12.
Action continues tomorrow as BSC faces Millsaps and No. 14 Colorado College at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.