Trojans Rally, Then Fall In Five-Set Heartbreaker Vs. Barton In Home Finale

Trojans Rally, Then Fall In Five-Set Heartbreaker Vs. Barton In Home Finale

University of Mount Olive rallied from a one-set deficit and battled back from four points down in the fifth set to come within two points of winning the match, but Barton College defeated the Trojans 19-25, 25-21, 25-11, 20-25, 15-13 in Conference Carolinas women's volleyball Tuesday at Kornegay Arena. Danielle Plante matched a career high with 18 kills and Alysha Burnett recorded a career-best 27 digs for the Trojans.

Mount Olive (4-20 overall, 3-11 Conference Carolinas) dropped consecutive sets after winning the opening set and trailed 18-16 in the fourth set before Plante and Burnett sparked a Trojan rally. A pair of Plante kills sandwiched around a Burnett kill put Mount Olive back on top and another kill by Plante broke a 19-19 tie and put the Trojans ahead to stay. After another kill each by Plante and Burnett extended UMO's lead to 23-20 and Megan Hight's kill just barely caught the right line to set up set point. Burnett recorded a kill to even the match at two sets apiece.

An ace by Hayley Marshburn helped stake Barton (14-10, 9-5) to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set and the Bulldogs went on to lead 8-4. Three kills by Plante helped the Trojans pull within two points and back-to-back blocks by Burnett and Hight tied the set at 10-10. A kill by Plante gave Mount Olive its first lead of the set and after a Barton side out, another kill by Plante and a Bulldog error put the Trojans on top 13-11.

After a Barton time out, the Bulldogs scored on a Trojan attack error. Mariana Kedzia recorded kills on the next two points to put Barton back on top and put the Bulldogs within a point of winning the match. Barton sealed the win when Courtney Wiseman and Kaitlyn Micol were credited with a block after Mount Olive was called for a net error on match point.

After seeing a four-point lead disappear in the opening set, Mount Olive regained the lead for good as Sydney Kanupp's kill in the middle broke a 15-15 tie and ignited a 4-0 Trojan run. Burnett's ace followed a block by Hight and Sarah Watkins as the Trojan took the first set.

Barton built a 15-7 lead in the second set after an ace by Marshburn and the Bulldogs still led by as many as seven points before the Trojans put together a rally. Kills by Kanupp sandwiched around a kill by Plante cut Barton's lead to 19-15. Hight outmuscled Barton's middle hitter for a block and Mount Olive pulled within 21-19. But a pair of Trojan errors halted the comeback and Kedzia's kill on set point tied the match at one set apiece.

Aces by three different players helped stake Barton to a 10-3 lead in the third set and the Bulldogs were never threatened. Micol's kill gave Barton its first double-digit lead at 19-9 and setter Angelica Acevedo's second-ball tip kill gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead in sets.

Burnett and Plante were among six Trojans to set or match career highs Tuesday. Hight recorded nine blocks, Danielle Stachura had 28 assists, Samantha Winfield tallied 19 digs and Britni Johnson matched a career high with 18 digs. Burnett, who notched a double-double with 11 kills, served four of Mount Olive's five aces and added three blocks. Plante committed only two attack errors in 35 attempts for a .457 hitting percentage. Nicole Karas narrowly missed a double-double with 20 assists and nine digs. Watson added four blocks for the Trojans.

Mount Olive finished with a season-high 81 digs, nearly 30 digs more than the Trojans' previous single-match high this season.

Kedzia led all players with 24 kills for Barton, while Micol added 12 kills. Marshburn led five Bulldogs in double figures with 20 digs.

Tuesday's contest was the home finale for Mount Olive, which concludes regular season play this weekend with a pair of matches on the road. The Trojans travel to Banner Elk, N.C., Friday evening to take on Lees-McRae College, then head to Bristol, Tenn., Saturday afternoon to face King University.