Wed, Oct 04, 2017 - [Volleyball]
Photo by: Wesley Sanders
Photo by: Wesley Sanders

Dayton, Tenn. – The Bryan College Volleyball team stunned fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference opponent Tennessee Wesleyan University Tuesday night after the Lions found themselves down 2-0 to the Bulldogs with a loss via sweep in sight. Instead of accepting their fate, Bryan came out swinging in set number three, going up 10-5 as the frame got underway. The lead eventually built to double-digits as the Lions took the frame in convincing fashion 25-18. Set four would be the difference maker, proving which side wanted the victory more. The back and forth bout went Bryan's way 26-24 before the Lions fought for a fifth set 15-12, claiming three straight sets, sending Tennessee Wesleyan back home with a 2-3 loss. The win improved Bryan's overall record to 5-13 and AAC record to 4-4, while Tennessee Wesleyan dropped to 5-13 overall and 1-7 in conference play.

Emalie Hicks (SO/Calhoun, Ga.) helped lead the attack for the Lions as she registered a team-high and season-best performance with 14 kills for a .371 attack percentage. Two other Lions reached double-digit kills as Hope Burnett (SR/Asheville, N.C.) and Anna Owens (FR/Thompsons Station, Tenn.) each tallied 11 kills with Burnett averaging .276 and Owens ending with a .111 average. Mariah Dunlop (JR/Bradenton, Fla. ) aided with eight kills, and Brooke Stowell (SR/Knoxville, Tenn.) followed with five put-aways. As a team, Bryan compiled 52 kills to Tennessee Wesleyan's 59 and bettered the Bulldogs with a .161 average compared to their .147. Veronica Salas (JR/Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) finished with a team-high 24 assists and was second on the team in digs with 14, trailing Kristen Parrish (SR/Decatur, Ala.)'s 27. Burnett notched two of the Lions' four total blocks as she had a pair of solo rejections.


The Bulldogs pulled away from the Lions in the opening set after being tied 3-3 with a 11-0 run for a comfortable 14-3 advantage. The difference proved too much as Tennessee Wesleyan easily took the first frame with a score of 25-15.


A kill by Megan Martinez (SO/Lutz, Fla.), back-to-back attack errors by Tennessee Wesleyan, and a kill by Owens allowed the Lions to jump out in front 4-0 to begin the second set. Bryan controlled the lead until Tennessee Wesleyan leveled the score 10-10 and went on to claim a 14-10 advantage. Despite staying close to the Bulldogs, the Lions were unable to make a late surge as Tennessee Wesleyan went up 2-0 after taking the second set 25-21.


The third set had a similar start to set number one, but this time the roles were flipped as the Lions clawed their way to a 14-5 lead. The Bulldogs attempted to come from behind to seal a sweep, but Bryan's early run ended all hopes as the Lions won the third set 25-18.


The fourth set would determine if Tennessee Wesleyan could finish just as well as they had begun the contest or if Bryan desired to keep composure and own the game just as they had the previous frame. 18 ties later and the largest lead being a mere four points, it was the Lions who rose to the occasion. Tied 13-13 midway through the set, the Bulldogs pulled in front with two consecutive kills for a 15-13 lead. An attack error from Tennessee Wesleyan and kills by Hicks and Stowell evened the score 16-16. Both sides would go on to tie 18-18, 19-19, and 20-20. It was at this point of the set that the Lions, with the help of a roaring Summers Gymnasium cheering them on, rallied for a 4-0 dagger. A kill by Hicks and Owens, followed by two attack errors by the Bulldogs, left Bryan needing only one more point to tie the game 2-2. Tennessee Wesleyan did all they could to prevent that from happening as they scraped up four unanswered points to tie Bryan 24-24. Salas connected with Owens and Hicks for the last two kills of the set as the Lions owned the set 26-24, forcing the Bulldogs into a fifth set.


Bryan struggled early as Tennessee Wesleyan was able to cruise ahead for a 6-0 advantage. Even though this kind of momentum might be difficult to stop, the Lions had proved in earlier sets that they could shut down the Bulldogs, and that's exactly what they did as they went on a remarkable 9-1 run for a 9-7 lead. With the tables turned, Bryan wouldn't surrender the lead for the rest of the fifth set as they ended the match 15-12 for a 3-2 comeback win.


Up next for the Lions is a three-game stretch where they will be on the road against conference foes Point University (Ga.) on Friday, Oct. 6, Reinhardt University (Ga.) on Saturday, Oct. 7, and Bluefield College (Va.) next Tuesday, Oct. 10.


To view the full 2017 volleyball schedule, click here.


Follow the Bryan Lions Women's Volleyball team on Twitter @BryanVolleyball, Instagram @bclionsvolleyball, and Facebook @bryancollegevolleyball

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