Brevard, N.C. – The Brevard College Tornados made history on Wednesday night in dramatic fashion as Coach Skeffington’s squad stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Lady Pioneers of Tusculum 3-2 and give the Tornados their first ever South Atlantic Conference Championship Tournament berth.
The Tornados dropped the first two sets, but bounced back to take sets three, four and five to score the 3-2 win (24-26, 18-25, 25-15, 25-21 and 15-13). The win moves BC to 12-16 overall and 3-13 in the conference, while Tusculum falls to 20-9 overall and 8-6 in the SAC with the loss.
In the opening set, the Tornados stayed close with the Lady Pioneers as they never trailed by more than four points throughout the set. With the score tied up at 18-18, a kill by Tusculum’s Carly Swisher gave the Lady Pioneers the lead for good, as Tusculum traded points back and forth with the Tornados before winning the match 26-24 on a service ace by Heather MacArthur.
The Tornados took their first lead at 9-8 in the second set on an attack error by Tusculum. Senior setter Jami Perry pushed BC’s lead to two points at 10-8 on a kill of her own, forcing Tusculum to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Tusculum scored back-to-back points to knot the score back up at 10-10. Neither team would pull away as they traded points back-and-forth until a service ace by Tusculum’s Erika Garcia gave the Lady Pioneers the advantage at 17-15. Tusculum refused to give up the lead, outscoring BC 8-3 down the stretch to pick up the 25-18 set win and take a 2-0 advantage in the match.
With their backs against the walls the Tornados showed their toughness in the final three sets to storm back for the win.
In the third set, BC took an early 4-3 lead on a service ace by junior Cori Emory and a kill by junior middle hitter Brooke Seaman only to have Tusculum battle back to tie the score up at 11-11 on a BC attack error.
However, BC refused to roll over and instead responded with a 4-0 run to pull ahead of the Lady Pioneers 15-11. The Tornados would hold off Tusculum over the next few points and pushed their lead to as high as five points at 19-14 on a Perry service to force Tusculum to call a timeout.
BC finished off the Lady Pioneers down the stretch scoring the last six points of the set to pull away with the 25-15 win and force a fourth set.
Riding a momentum wave from the conclusion of the third set, BC jumped out to an 11-6 lead on a kill by junior outside hitter Megan Street. Tusculum answered the early offensive surge of the Tornados with a 9-6 run to pull within two points of the home team at 17-15. Yet that is as close as the Lady Pioneers would get, as BC continued to make big plays down the stretch to push their lead out to five at 24-19 with set point looming.
Tusculum did not give in, scoring the next two points to add pressure to the Tornados making the score 24-21. However, junior Chelsey Trojan put the set away with a kill on the next point to give BC the 25-21 win and knot the score up at 2-2 heading into the fifth and final set.
Tusculum showed why the have won 20 matches thus far in 2008 in the final set, as the Lady Pioneers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on BC. However, the resilient Tornado squad would not give up and battled back to take a 7-5 lead on a Tusculum attack error and a Seaman kill, forcing Tusculum to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Brevard traded points with Tusculum holding on to a 10-9 lead when Coach Skeffington called a timeout.
BC responded with a kill by Trojan to go up 11-9, which started a trend in which the two teams traded points back-and-forth until a kill by Tusculum’s Swisher cut the Tornados lead to one at 14-13. On the very next point, the Tornados made history as freshman Chelsea Larsen pounded the ball from the left side of the net into the middle of the court on Tusculum’s side to give BC the 3-2 win, earning them a spot in their first ever SAC Championship Tournament.
Leading the way for Brevard was Seaman with a match-high 18 kills and Trojan with 11 of her own. Perry dished had six kills to go along with her 38 set assists, while libero Rebecca Schoonover had a match high 14 digs.
For Tusculum, Katie Luebke had a team-high 13 kills, while Swisher added 12 kills. MacArthur had 10 kills to go along with 10 digs, while libero Erika Garcia had a team-high 13 digs. Setter Peyton Colclough had a match-high 43 set assists.
The Tornados will play two more matches before the South Atlantic Conference tournament starts on November 13. First off BC will have a non-conference match at Columbia College on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. and then play in their home finale on Tuesday night, November 11, versus the Lady Crusaders of North Greenville at 7 p.m. The Lady Pioneers will next play Catawba at home on Friday night at 7 p.m.