LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The 2018 season came to an end for the Covenant volleyball team on Tuesday with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-19) loss to No. 4 seed Piedmont in a USA South Tournament quarterfinal inside Barnes PE Center.
Covenant ends the year 15-13 overall. It is the ninth straight winning season for the program. Piedmont (15-10), which defeated No. 5 seed LaGrange earlier on Tuesday, advances to the USA South Tournament semifinals and will face William Peace on Friday.
Hannah Harris had six kills and two blocks in her final match as a Scot, while fellow senior Hannah Stewart led the back row with 17 digs. Allie Jakes also had six kills and Emily Moore added 19 assists, eight digs, and three kills.
Piedmont controlled the action for most of the match and it all started in the first set. The Lions took a 5-2 lead early on and never trailed the rest of the way as the visitors tallied 18 kills in the set and won 25-17.
The second set was the difference in the match. The game featured 10 ties and four lead changes and the Scots grabbed a 20-16 lead after two kills from Sara Delk and an ace from Stewart. After a Piedmont timeout, the Lions scored five straight to take a 21-20 lead. A kill from Alexa Spurling tied the score at 21-21, but Piedmont scored the final four points, capped by consecutive blocks, to go ahead 2-0 in the match.
Covenant led 7-4 in the third set after a kill from Lindsey Stephens, but again Piedmont had an answer as the Lions scored seven straight to take an 11-7 lead. Covenant would tie the score at 16-16 on a Jakes kill before Piedmont scored three straight for a 19-16 edge. A Covenant timeout rallied the Scots as they trimmed the deficit to 19-18 after Jakes was involved in back-to-back blocks. However, a 6-1 run by the Lions sealed Covenant's fate.
Erica Balkcum had a match high 14 kills for Piedmont, while Jenna Wendel had 31 assists and 12 digs. Lainey Choiniere produced a match-best 22 digs in the Piedmont win.
Despite the loss, Covenant finished the year as the USA South West Division regular season champions. It marks the fourth straight year that the Scots have won a USA South regular season division title.
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