LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Earlham College volleyball team fell in straight sets to the first-seed Transylvania Pioneers in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament championship 3-0 (11-25, 22-25, 14-25). This was the first time the Quakers had advanced to the HCAC championship in volleyball.
In the first set, the Pioneers (27-4) scored the first 10 points of the match before a kill by sophomore Sarah Dickman got the Quakers on the board. Earlham struggled with the hitting of Transylvania in the first set as the Pioneers had 19 kills to Earlham's six. The Pioneers had a hitting percentage of .421 in the first set compared to the Quakers .091 percentage.
The Quakers would not back down in the second set. Earlham got the first point of the set from a kill by sophomore Abbey Zanatta. From there, both teams went back and forth in points. Neither team led by more than one point until a kill by Earlham's sophomore Caroline Mulvihill. The score was 14-12. With the score tied at 21, a kill by Transylvania's Jordan Horne gave the Pioneers a one point lead the Quakers could not recover from.
Transylvania did not miss a beat in the third set. The Quakers got out to a quick 2-0 lead in the set but the Pioneers recovered. The Quakers led 6-4 then Transylvania went on a 7-0 run to take back the lead 6-11. The Pioneers went on another 4-0 run later in the set to make the score 8-16. The Quakers continued to battle but scored only six more points to Transylvania's nine over the rest of the set.
Transylvania had over 15 kills in each of the sets. 14 was the high for the Quakers which came in the second set. Offensively, Earlham was led by Zanatta with eight kills. As a team, the Quakers had a .105 hitting percentage compared to the Pioneers .336 percentage. Senior Lauren Jackson added 24 more assists to her career assists total. The Quakers had two players in double digit digs. Junior Julia Stewart had 11 while freshman Jennifer Shamel added 10.
The Pioneers were led offensively by 17 kills from Horne and 15 from Ellie Stigger. Hannah Talkers tallied 37 assists of the team's 48 assists. Talkers accounted for 17 digs and teammate Abby Wills totaled 13 to account for almost half of the team's 66 digs.
The Quakers finished the season with a 20-9 mark. This ties last year's win total (20) and is the most wins in a season since 1991 with 22. Earlham graduates three seniors in Angelica Carpio, Sydney Ameluxen and Jackson. Next year, the Quakers will return with four sophomores, four juniors and six seniors.
-Ameluxen totals 1,022 digs in career. This ranks sixth in Earlham Volleyball history.
-Jackson records 4,113 assists in career. This ranks second in Earlham Volleyball history.