BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern volleyball team suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at home to Millsaps, Wednesday evening in Bill Battle Coliseum.
The Panthers fall to 13-7 overall and 8-2 in the Southern Athletic Association; tonight marked their first home loss of the year. The Majors move to 14-4 overall and also now stand at 8-2 in the SAA. The two teams met earlier this season in Jackson, Miss., with BSC winning 3-0.
The first set came down to the wire, with the teams keeping it close down the stretch. Millsaps played to match point, 24-23, but the Panthers answered with two points to go up 25-24 before the Majors scored three straight to win the set 27-25.
BSC won set two after trailing 6-5 early, using a 8-1 run to pull ahead for good, eventually winning 25-15. Set three was another close one with neither team leading by more than two until the Panthers used six straight points to go up 16-11. After that, Millsaps out-scored the Panthers 8-2 to pull back ahead, 19-18. The teams traded points down the stretch, and the Panthers were able to cut it to 23-22 after trailing 23-20, but the Majors scored the final two points to clinch the set and pull ahead 2-1 in the match.
Set four was yet another close one, with BSC using several mini point runs to pull ahead and eventually lead 21-17. The Majors scored three straight to cut it to 21-20, and the teams traded points before BSC was able to score the final two points to win the set 25-22.
The Majors pulled ahead in the fifth set, going up 7-4 and then 8-5 before BSC clawed back to tie it up 8-8. Millsaps out-scored BSC 7-3 after that, however, to win the set 15-11 and the match.
Junior Alex Bothe led BSC with 17 kills and had her third-straight double-double with 16 digs as well. Senior setter Lauren Reibe also posted her third-straight double-double with 48 assists and 21 digs, and sophomore Kelly Foster had a double-double as well with 11 kills and 12 digs. Senior Shelby Moore also added 14 kills, senior Presley Dickson had 21 digs, freshman Katie McCormack recorded 18 digs, and freshman Lauren Bedford had 17 digs.
As a team the Panthers did not hit well, with 54 kills and 39 attack errors for a .069 attack percentage.
"I thought it was a highly competitive match between two very evenly-matched teams," Head Coach Judy Green said. "Our inability to hit the ball, though, really put us at a disadvantage; we just made too many attack errors.
"However, I was very proud of how we competed," Green continued. "I thought our defense got better as the match went on. It was a good gut-check for us. Now we need to regroup as we hit the road and start a new streak."
The Panthers are on the road for more conference action, traveling to face Sewanee on Friday at 6 p.m. and Centre on Saturday at 1 p.m.