MOBILE, Ala. – The Spring Hill College volleyball team squeaked out a 3-2 home conference win over Jesuit rival the Loyola University (La.) Wolf Pack by the scores of 25-23, 25-16, 21-25, 22-25, 15-10 on Tuesday night at the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center.
Both teams opened the match with a sluggish first series of volleys, but Loyola gained their footing first and took a 15-11 lead off a 6-point run behind the serving of Becca Burnett. The Badgers later rallied to take a 21-19 advantage via a 4-point run off the serving of junior middle hitter Sha Sha Buchanan of Mobile before taking the 1st set 25-23.
Spring Hill seemed to have grabbed the momentum in the 2nd set coasting to a 25-16 victory sparked by an early 9-1 run that staked SHC to a 15-5 bulge.
The Wolf Pack (15-7, 5-7 SSAC) was undaunted by the 2-0 mountain facing them and took the 3rd set 25-22 after holding as much as a 17-11 lead. Loyola also appeared to have staggered the Badgers by taking the 4th set 25-21 after SHC held a 16-10 advantage only to see the Pack run off a 6-0 series with the Burnett once again leading the charge at server.
Spring Hill regrouped for the tie-breaking 5th set and fought out to an 8-5 lead at the changeover and built an 11-7 advantage before holding off a determined Loyola rally at 15-10.
Sophomore Megan Haber of Lillian, Ala., recorded 23 kills while Buchanan added 21 kills to the Badger totals. Junior setter Taryn Nash of Independence, Mo., also handed out 55 assists, but defense was the deciding factor in the match as Haber and Buchanan each had 3.5 blocks and sophomore Sami Maurer of St. Louis, Mo., led four Badgers who tallied double-digit digs with 28.
Loyola's Burnett had 24 digs and a service ace while Katie Hamilton had 19 kills for the Wolf pack. Sam Worsham distributed 50 assists and Sabrina Stansberry made five solo blocks.
As a team, Spring Hill held an attacking percentage of .238 (68-25-181) and Loyola ended with a .199 percentage (60-23-186). SHC collected 89 digs to 74 for Loyola. The Badgers recorded 10 aces and blocked 11 shots while Loyola had three aces and blocked 10 shots.
The Badgers (23-3, 12-0 SSAC) will host the Southern University-New Orleans (SUNO) Lady Knights (14-5) in a non-conference match on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center. Fans are asked to wear pink to the match in support of the Play4Kay campaign and the on-going fight against breast cancer.