LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- Down 2-0 in the match, the Covenant volleyball team rallied to force a fifth set but visiting Birmingham Southern pulled away in the decisive game to earn a 3-2 (25-16, 25-15, 28-30, 23-25, 15-9) victory over the Scots on Wednesday night inside Barnes PE Center.
The loss snaps a 14-match home win streak for Covenant (5-9), dating back to the beginning of the 2017 season.
In a rematch of a 2017 NCAA Tournament first round contest, Birmingham Southern (9-5) took control early with wins in the first two sets. The Panthers totaled 24 kills over the first two sets to go ahead 2-0 in the match.
Covenant would not back down and took the third set. The game featured 11 ties and six lead changes as the teams traded points throughout. Covenant trailed 17-14, but responded with a 10-4 run, capped by a kill from Hannah Harris, to take a 24-21 lead. The visiting Panthers scored four straight to grab a one-point lead but Harris added another kill to send the match into extra points. Down 28-27, the Scots got the final three points, thanks to two Panther errors and a combined block from Sara Delk and Alexa Spurling.
In the fourth, the Scots had to rally again. Trailing 16-10, Covenant went on an 11-3 run to grab a 21-19 lead after a Meriel Chupp kill. A kill from Spurling a few points later sent the match into the fifth.
Covenant led 5-2 in the final set, however Birmingham Southern had the final run as it outscored the Scots 13-4 the rest of the way to escape with the victory.
Harris led Covenant with her 12 kills to go along with nine digs and two blocks. Spurling had eight kills and seven blocks, while Sophie Puertas had 23 assists and 12 digs. Delk and Chupp added six kills apiece and Hannah Stewart led the defense with 20 digs. Emily Moore also recorded double-digit digs with her 13.
Birmingham Southern received 18 kills from Jeneva Salter and 10 each from Milea Ray, Rebecca Erwin, and Julia Denby. Reilly Vought had 39 assists, while Caroline Johnson tallied a match-high 29 digs.
Covenant will be back in USA South play on Saturday. The Scots travel to Decatur, Ga., to face Huntingdon (2 p.m.) and host Agnes Scott (4 p.m.).
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTS
Be sure to follow the Scots all season long on athletics.covenant.edu and on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date scores, news and other information. To receive text alerts with score updates or e-newsletters, click here