Volleyball Pulls Big Upset Over Birmingham Southern, 3-2

The Oglethorpe volleyball team pulled off a big upset over Birmingham Southern Saturday, defeating them in Birmingham, 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 18-25, 15-10) to go to 6-11 overall, 2-11 in SAA play. Birmingham Southern came into the match in third place in the SAA standings.

Oglethorpe started out by winning the first set, 25-23, in a hard-fought set that was back and forth the whole way. Neither side ever led the set by more than four points, and the teams were tied six times, including 22-22 and 23-23. However, the Lady Petrels won two points in a row from that point, putting the set away.

In the second set, Birmingham Southern slowly pulled away, taking leads of 13-8, 20-12 and 22-14. The Lady Petrels  won four straight points to cut the defcit to 22-18, but the Lady Panthers went on a 3-1 run to finish off the set, 25-19.

In the third set, Oglethorpe fell behind 9-7, but went on a five-pont run for a 12-9 lead. The Lady Panthers reasserted themselves and took a 17-15 lead and it looked as though they might finally take control of the match, but the Lady Petrels had other ideas and came back to take a 23-22 lead. From there, Oglethorpe put the set away for the 25-22 win, putting them one set away from pullng off the upset.

It would not be easy. Though Oglethorpe took an early 9-6 lead early in the fourth set, Birmingham Southern won nine straght points to take a 15-9 lead. From there, the Lady Panthers would cruise to the 25-18 win, sending things to a winner-take-all fifth set.

In that set, Oglethorpe ran out to leads of 4-0 and 6-1, putting them in excellent position to win the first-to-15 set. Birmingham Southern cut the lead to two points a couple of times, but in the end, the Lady Petrels prevailed 15-10 and pulled the big upset over the Lady Panthers.

Libero Megan MaKuck came up with a massive 38 digs for the Lady Petrels. Outside hitter McKenna Bondarenko pounded out 22 kills on 65 attempts. Setter Anna Marie Disalvo continued to flourish in her new role, passing out 38 assists. Outside hitter Erin Shelton contributed 13 kills. Two of her kills won sets for Oglethorpe, including the match-clinching point in the fifth set.

The Lady Petrels will next be in action Sunday afternoon, when they will travel west from Birmingham to Jackson, Miss., to do battle with Millsaps, the SAA's current second-place team, at 1 p.m. Eastern time.

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