SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The 23rd-ranked Spring Hill College volleyball team closed out the 2013 season in the Pool Play Round of the 2013 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Tournament with a 3-1 (25-20, 25-13, 23-25, 25-20) loss to the 19th-ranked Wayland Baptist University (Texas) Pioneers at the Tyson Events Center on Wednesday night.
Wayland (33-6, 3-0) held a slim 8-7 lead in the early going of the 1st set, but SHC was showing a strong presence on the right side with several kills from the front line. SHC took an 11-9 lead only to see Wayland rally to retake a 12-11 lead. After trading the lead twice, Wayland built a 20-16 advantage off a six-point run highlighted by two long 12-volley points and held off two determined Badger rallies for the 25-20 win.
The Pioneers jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the 2nd set before SHC fought back to make it a 10-6 deficit. Later, a 6-point run by Wayland built a 16-8 bulge that SHC could not overcome for a 25-13 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
SHC bounced back to take an 18-12 lead in the 3rd set, but the Pioneers rallied to cut it down to an 18-17 margin. The Badgers, however, successfully held on for the 25-23 win.
The Badgers trailed 17-11 in the 4th set, but rallied again to make it just an 18-17 and 20-19 shortfalls, but late surge by Wayland extended the lead back out to 23-20 and closed the match with a 25-20 win.
Senior middle blocker Sha Sha Buchanan closed out her four-year career with an 18-kill effort and senior setter Taryn Nash handed out 42 assists while senior libero Meredith Donald added 13 digs. Nash and sophomore Mallory Raulerson each had 14 digs as freshman Madison Seuzeneau ripped down 10 kills.
As a team, SHC posted a .184 (55-22-179) hitting percentage with 67 digs two aces and six blocks.
For Wayland, Shahala Hawkins recorded 25 kills and Grecia Rivera had 20 kills as setter Ashlyn Westerman distributed 52 assists and Mercades Torres scooped in 21 digs. Overall, the Pioneers hit .304 (66-17-161) with three aces and six blocks with 79 digs.
With the victory, Wayland won Pool E advanced to the single elimination bracket play losing just one set in pool play. Spring Hill finished the year with a 37-5 overall record and a 1-2 mark in the tournament's pool play.