SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The 16th-ranked Spring Hill College volleyball team accepted its second consecutive loss in the round robin pool play in the 2011 NAIA Volleyball National Championship presented by CNOS Foundation on Tuesday afternoon at The Forum. This time the Badgers came up on the short side of a 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-16) score with 4th-ranked Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Fla.).
The Badgers rallied from a late deficit to take the first set 25-22 and fought tooth-and-nail for every point of the second and third sets, but the Eagles proved too strong in both periods to take a 2-1 lead. The experience and depth of ERAU came through in the final fourth set as SHC saw an 11-11 tie dissolve into a 25-16 final score.
Senior right side hitter Yiting Cao of Shanghai, China, racked up 22 kills, 11 digs, 24 receptions and a solo block, but also suffered 11 attack errors in a .200 attack percentage performance.
Fellow senior Cassandra Marchand-Stewart of Grand Bay, Ala., collected 13 kills while the sophomore class of Sha Sha Buchanan, Meredith Donald and Taryn Nash continued to shine. Buchanan tallied an ace with 12 kills, Donald roped in 16 digs and 30 receptions and Nash distributed 41 assists with 12 digs in the loss.
Jordan Holcomb led the way for ERAU (29-14, 2-0) with 22 kills for an attack percentage of .500 and 13 digs.
Overall, the Eagles held SHC to a .196 attack percentage while forging a .287 percentage for themselves.
SHC (39-3, 0-2) will wrap up the 2011 season against the 25th-ranked Freed-Hardeman University (Fla.) Lady Lions (28-10, 0-2) at 1 p.m. Thursday in the final day of the championship's 3-day round robin pool play.