After falling in a tough first set, the second-seeded Union College volleyball team won three straight sets over eighth-seeded Tennessee Wesleyan, taking the match in four (30-32, 25-16, 25-22, 25-18) as part of pool play at the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday.
The Tournament is being held at the Marriott MeadowView Convention Center.
With the win, Union moved to 28-9 on the year, and automatically advance to the Semifinals of the Tournament with an undefeated 2-0 record in pool play.
“We ran into a good challenge this afternoon in TWC,” said head coach Jeremy Wise. “They had just come off an upset win [over Columbia] and were fired up, and we came out flat. Unfortunately, that led to a slower paced game that we struggled with. We did win some timeouts and made late runs in the game to finish off sets.
“Hopefully, we will bounce back and learn a good lesson from today, and take it into the semifinals tomorrow morning.”
In the first set, things were tight throughout, but it appeared late that Union had taken control of things, holding a 22-18 lead. But, TWC fought back, tying the match up at 25-25. In the tie-break, the lead swung back-and-forth, with no one finally taking grasp of the set until Union got up 30-29, with a chance to end the set.
But, TWC rallied once last time, scoring three straight point to shock the Bulldogs with a two-point, tiebreak win. In the second set, however, Union came out on fire, opening up an insurmountable 13-6 lead early, and never looking back in a nine-point win to tie the match up at 1-1.
In the third set, Union grabbed control of the match, once again taking a big lead early (16-10) and cruising down the stretch to take a three-point win to go back up 2-1 in the match.
Poised to send the match to a fifth set, Tennessee Wesleyan took an early 10-8 lead in the fourth set. But here, Union grabbed control of the set, scoring seven of the next eight points to go up 15-11 in the set.
Once Union got the lead back, they never gave it up, as they rolled to a seven-point victory in the fourth set to take the come-from-behind victory over TWC.
Overall, a pair of freshman were dominant on the attack in the win for Union, as both Rachel Andrews (FR/Louisville, Ky.) and Marissa Elam (FR/Muncie, Ind.) slammed home 14 kills, apiece. Setter Heather Fields (SR/Louisville, Ky.) posted 23 assists in the win, while libero Ana Calaza (JR/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) had 25 digs on the defensive end.
The Bulldogs will play in the Semifinals of the AAC Tournament on Friday morning at 11 a.m. against a to be determined opponent. The winner of that match will move on to the Championship Match, which begins at 4 p.m.