Mars Hill, N.C. – On Thursday afternoon the Brevard College women’s volleyball team made history, as the Tornados competed in their first ever Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Championship Tournament at Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, N.C.
The Tornados, who went into the tournament as the No. 8 seed, had a tough draw in their first ever SAC tournament, as BC had to take on the No. 1 seeded Wingate University Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 1 in the Southeast Region among all NCAA Division II schools.
Brevard, who finished the season with a conference record of 3-13, took one set from the Bulldogs, who finished the regular season 16-0 in the SAC and on a 25-match winning streak, and forced the quarterfinal match to go four sets.
The Tornados struggled early, as Coach Skeffington’s squad fell behind 10-3 to the Bulldogs early in the opening set, forcing a BC timeout. Brevard tried to battle back but found themselves too far behind as the Tornados traded points with Wingate for the rest of the match, never getting any closer than seven points before ultimately falling 25-11.
Down in the match 1-0, the Tornados evened the match play up at 1-1, winning the second set 25-17.
The second set started much different than the first for Brevard, as the Tornados went point for point with the Bulldogs before a kill by junior middle hitter Brooke Seaman gave BC the 13-12 lead. The Tornados would lead for the rest of the set, as BC went on a 12-5 run to close out the set and pick up the 25-17 set win.
In the third set Wingate proved why they entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed, as the Bulldogs went on a 15-0 run to pull away and down the Tornados 25-11. After falling behind 2-0 the Tornados knotted the score up at 2-2 on back-to-back points on a Wingate service error and a Seaman kill. The two teams then traded points until BC took their first lead of the set at 8-7 on a Wingate attack error. Wingate then scored to tie the score up at 8-8, only to have the Tornados answer with a kill from freshman Chelsea Larsen to but BC back on top at 9-8.
Yet that is win the Bulldogs got loose, as a kill by Lauren Billo started a 15-0 run for Wingate, putting the top-seed up 23-9 and ultimately putting the Tornados away with the 25-11 set win.
In the fourth and final set the Tornados again hung tough early with the Bulldogs, as a kill by junior Chelsey Trojan cut the Wingate lead to only two points at 8-6. However, Wingate showed their experience down the stretch, out-scoring the Tornados 17-6 over the remainder of the set to pull away with the 25-12 set win and the 3-1 match victory.
BC was led by juniors Seaman and Trojan, as each one recorded nine kills for the match. Trojan also tied sophomore libero Rebecca Schoonover with a team-high 16 digs. Senior Jami Perry, playing in her last intercollegiate match, dished out 21 set assists and picked up 11 digs. Sophomore Cori Emory recorded nine digs for the match, while Larsen posted six kills over the four set match.
Wingate was led by Stormi Gale, who recorded a match-high 19 kills, and Heather Myklebust and Kathryn Reddick who each had six kills apiece. Maggie Malone recorded a match-high 21 digs, while Gale added 12 digs of her own for the match. Setter Liz Willis dished out a match-high 35 set assists.
With the win the No. 1 seeded Bulldogs will play again on Friday at 1 p.m. against the winner of the No. 4 seed Tusculum College Pioneers and the No. 5 seed Newberry College.
With the quarterfinal tournament loss the Tornados finish the 2008 season with a 14-17 overall record.