GAINESVILLE, Ga. – The 22nd ranked Spring Hill College volleyball team took a 3-0 (23-15, 25-19, 25-16) conference victory over Southern Wesleyan University at the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Divisional Crossover Tournament hosted by Brenau University on Friday night.
Spring Hill pulled out to a 17-11 lead in the first set and used a 4-0 run to close out period at 25-15. In the second set, the Badgers held a 13-8 advantage that grew to 22-16 before being finalized at 25-19.
The Warriors (17-3, 4-3 SSAC) scratched out a 3-point lead at 7-4 in the third set before Spring Hill rallied to tie the set at 7-7 and then used a 4-point rally to retake an 11-8 bulge. A Badger 6-point run to a 20-12 behind the serving of senior Yiting Cao of Shanghai, China, proved to be the deciding factor in the final set as Spring Hill sealed the set and the match at 25-16.
Unlike most Badger performances in their current 20-game winning streak, the Badgers relied heavily on defense at the net to decide the outcome. Spring Hill is normally focused on offense behind the scoring prowess of Cao, but this time the Badger blocking skills of freshman Megan Haber of Foley, Ala., and sophomore Sha Sha Buchanan from Mobile's McGill-Toolen Catholic High School tilted the decision to SHC.
Buchanan had a solo block and four block assists with Haber collecting three block assists as the Badgers tallied 9.5 total blocks at the net.
Cao handed out 16 kills with 13 digs for SHC and sophomore setter Taryn Nash of Independence, Mo., recorded 28 assists.
SWU was paced by Tierza Rangel with 10 kills, Hayley Hoover with 28 assists and Kelsey Deerinwater who pulled in 28 digs and 21 receptions.
The Badgers (20-0, 8-0 SSAC West) will remain in Gainesville on Saturday to face the host Brenau Golden Tigers (8-8, 1-5) at 11 a.m. and the Emmanuel College Lions (13-7, 0-6) at 3 p.m.