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Volleyball Closes Season at USA South Tournament

Pre-match huddle
(photo credit: Nina Grauley/Sports Information)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Covenant volleyball team pulled out a thrilling, five-set win over Piedmont in the USA South Tournament first round, but then saw its season come to an end with a loss at the hands of Huntingdon in the quarterfinals on Tuesday night at Roland Arena.

Covenant (11-18) ends its season for a second straight year in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament.

FIRST ROUND: Covenant 3, Piedmont 2

Covenant rallied from a one-set deficit, then rallied to force a fifth set before fending off a match point and completing the comeback for a five-set win (18-25, 27-25, 25-23, 14-25, 17-15) over Piedmont.

Emily Moore matched a program single-match record with 39 digs as the Scots survived to advance in the USA South Tournament. Moore tied Kate Wilson's single-match record of 39 digs set back in 2002.

Allie Jakes had 14 kills and four block assists, while Riley Howe produced a double-double of 13 kills and 17 digs. Jess Chesrown also tallied 13 kills and five total blocks. Leah Buys totaled 40 assists and 18 digs. Sara Delk was the fourth Scot in double figures in digs with 18.

Piedmont (10-19) took the first set and led for much of the second set. Covenant, however, rallied on the strength of its attack as the Scots compiled 15 kills in the set. Trailing by as many as five in the frame, Covenant was down 22-19 later on, but an Alexa Spurling ace followed by a combined block from Jakes and Chesrown knotted the score at 22. 

Down 25-24, the Scots fought off a set point and scored the final three to even the match. Chesrown had the set-clinching kill.

In a tight third set, Covenant eked out another two-point win. The stanza saw nine ties and three lead changes, but it was the Scots with the final answer as a kill from Howe gave Covenant the set and a 2-1 match lead.

Piedmont pulled away early in the fourth to force a deciding set.

Covenant trailed 5-2 early in the fifth set but rattled off a 10-3 scoring run to grab a 12-8 lead. Piedmont rallied back and took a 14-13 lead after a Covenant error. Facing elimination, the Scots regrouped and won four of the next five points, capped by a Piedmont error, to take the set and the win.

Covenant had a season-high tying nine blocks in the win.

Piedmont was led by Alina Roberts' 18 kills, 34 digs from Lainey Choiniere, and 48 assists from Ali Wilkins.

QUARTERFINAL ROUND: Huntingdon 3, Covenant 0

The Scots saw their season come to an end with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-19) loss to No. 2 West seed Huntingdon in quarterfinal round action.

Moore continued her phenomenal night as she accumulated 23 digs to lead Covenant, while Chesrown had six kills and three blocks.

Huntingdon (23-14) advances to the semifinal round of the USA South Tournament and will face No. 1 East seed Averett on Friday in Danville, Va. The Hawks were led by April Reese's 14 kills and Amy Tyma's 12 kills and 26 digs.

The host Hawks limited the Scots throughout the match. Huntingdon never trailed in the first or third sets, while Covenant had a brief, early lead in the second set before the Hawks pulled away for the set win.

Buys tacked on 13 assists and three kills for the Scots with Delk adding nine digs. Lindsey Stephens recorded five total blocks.

The loss ended the standout careers of seniors Moore, Jakes, and Stephens. The trip helped the program to 70 wins, three USA South regular season division titles, one USA South Tournament championship, and one NCAA Tournament appearance.


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Season-in-Review: Volleyball
December 17, 2019 Season-in-Review: Volleyball