LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant volleyball team raced out to a 12-0 lead in the opening set and used the momentum from that and a large home crowd inside Barnes Physical Education Center to defeat Maryville 3-0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-23) in a critical USA South showdown on Tuesday night.
The victory gives Covenant sole possession of first place in the South Division of the USA South with an 8-1 conference mark. Covenant moves to 10-9 overall and is now 7-0 at home. It was also the first win over Maryville, the two-time defending USA South champion, since 2010 and the first at home over the northern Scots since 1995.
Maryville, who had won 49 straight regular season USA South matches before a loss to Averett on Saturday, now stands at 10-8 on the year and 7-2 in league play.
The tone of the match was set early on. Chelsea VanDyk had four thunderous kills within the first few points of the match that sent the Barnes PE Center crowd into a frenzy, one they would stay in for the entire contest. Covenant led comfortably throughout the first set as it accumulated 13 kills and a .355 hitting percentage in the frame to take the game 25-12.
In the second set, Covenant went on a 10-1 scoring run midway through the game to break an early tie. The Lady Scots got kills from Ginny Moore and VanDyk during the run, but also had a pair of combined blocks that aided in a 16-7 advantage. Maryville would get no closer during the set and a Schuyler Moore kill gave Covenant a 2-0 match lead.
Six ties would ensue in the third set, but Covenant was able to hold off a Maryville rally to get the sweep. Covenant went ahead 21-18 after a combined block from VanDyk and Schuyler Moore, but the visiting Scots rallied to tie the set at 23. Ginny Moore placed a ball perfectly for a kill to make it 24-23 and Hannah Rogers completed the sweep with a kill of her own.
VanDyk was spectacular throughout as she led all players with 13 kills on just 18 total attempts for a .722 hitting percentage. Ginny Moore added 12 kills and 16 digs, while Schuyler Moore went for 26 assists, seven digs and three kills. Morgan Opgenorth produced six total blocks and four kills and Ariana Buchanan tallied 10 digs.
As a team, Covenant hit .212 with 10 team blocks while limiting Maryville to a .020 hitting percentage.
Mary Kate White totaled six kills for Maryville. Madison Smith had 12 assists, while Kaitlyn Flickinger had 14 digs.
Covenant will travel to Staunton, Va., on Saturday for a pair of USA South matches. The Lady Scots face Greensboro at 10 a.m. and then square-off with host Mary Baldwin at noon.
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