Williams Triple Double Not Enough to Lift Volleyball to Victory over Rhodes in 5-Set Thriller

Williams Triple Double Not Enough to Lift Volleyball to Victory over Rhodes in 5-Set Thriller

The Oglethorpe volleyball team lost a heartbreaker to the Rhodes Lynx on Sunday, as the visitors came back from 2-1 down to beat the Stormy Petrels, 3-2. The defeat dropped Oglethorpe to 5-18 on the year overall and 2-10 in SAA play.

The match featured a triple double from freshman setter Emma Williams, who recorded 11 kills, 21 assists and 20 digs to become the first Oglethorpe volleyball player to record a triple double in the school's SAA era. She also became the first SAA volleyball player to tally a triple double on the season. 

Rhodes took a big lead early in the first set, jumping out to a 5-1 advantage early and extending that to 14-4 with a 9-1 stretch. The Petrels bounced back with a 7-1 run to cut the deficit to 15-11, but Rhodes pushed it back out to 18-11. A run of four straight points brought the home side to within three, 18-15, but that was as close as they got. Rhodes finished on a 7-1 run to win the set, 25-16.

Rhodes jumped out to a 5-3 lead early in the second, but the Petrels ran off five straight to take an 8-5 lead. A 5-point run from the Lynx switched the visitors back into the lead at 10-9, but from that point, the Petrels took complete control of the set. They outscored Rhodes 16-8 over the remainder to tie the match at 1-1 with a 25-18 second-set win.

The Petrels continued their outstanding play in the third set, as they began by pushing out to a 6-1 lead. The Lynx tied it with a 7-2 run of their own, making the score 9-9. However, the home side ran off four straight to retake the lead, then pushed it out with 6-point run that game them a 22-14 lead late in the set. They closed out the set, 25-17, to take a 2-1 lead.

The fourth set was tied 7-7, but the visitors used a 5-0 run to take a 12-8 lead. From there, Oglethorpe got as close as three points a couple times, but Rhodes eventually pulled away to a 25-18 win to advance the match to a fifth and final set.

Oglethorpe took a couple of 2-point leads early in the first-to-15 stanza, but Rhodes came back to tie it both times. They then used a 5-1 run to take a 12-9 lead. The Petrels responded by making it 13-12, but a Rhodes point gave them match point at 14-12. The Petrels scored three straight points to flip and give themselves match point up 15-14. However, the Lynx finished three straight points from there to take the set, 17-15, and the match, 3-2.

In addition to Williams' triple double, sophomore Jacoby Sims had 15 kills, freshman setter Grace Holder added 23 assists, and sophomore libero Hailee Bugg contributed 18 digs. Freshman middle hitter Jordyn Billings led the team with seven total blocks.

Before the match, the Petrels celebrated Senior Day, acknowledging the careers of defensive specialist Lexi Grams, outside hitter Santreece Stephens, middle hitter Haili Nelson, right-side hitter Evan Furst, middle hitter Ashlee Tolbert and defensive specialist Delaney Findling.

The Petrels will now hit the road, as they'll travel to Birmingham, Alabama, and Jackson, Mississippi, next weekend. They'll take on Birmingham-Southern Friday at 6 p.m. Eastern and Millsaps Saturday at 1 p.m.