SHREVEPORT, La. – Statistics state that a team who reaches 15 first goes on to win the set 75 percent of the time. Fortunately for the Ladies, they decided to buck the trend.
The 'Roos reached 15 first and led by at least five in all three sets, but Centenary (15-16, 6-8 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference) mounted huge rallies for its first ever sweep of Austin College (14-16, 5-9 SCAC) 25-23, 25-17, 25-23 in the Ladies final match of the afternoon of the conference crossover Saturday, October 27.
In their first match of the day, senior Haley Lawson broke the Centenary career digs record during the seventh point of the first set. However, the Tigers rallied to take the set and complete the sweep as Centenary fell to #10 Trinity (23-5, 14-1 SCAC) 25-17, 25-11, 25-15.
After Centenary rallied to win the first two sets against Austin College, its back was against the wall in the third down 19-14. Freshman Lauren Kelley tallied three straight kills to pull the Ladies within two. A Kelley attack error put the 'Roos on serve, but a hitting error by the visitors put Lawson on serve. Kills by senior Makenzie Shaw and Michaela Brantley tied the set, and a Lawson ace gave Centenary its first lead since 6-5.
Austin College retook the lead with a pair of points, but a kill from freshman Alyssa Davis kill tied the set at 22. The Ladies used an opportune time to pick up their only block of the match when Davis and freshman Elizabeth Epley put the Ladies back in front. An ace by Marissa Sandoval gave Centenary two set points.
A hitting error by the Ladies gave Austin College hop, but a Davis kill ended the thrilling match.
Kelley finished with a match best 13 kills, including seven kills and no errors on 11 swings (.636 hitting percentage) in the first set alone. Lawson added a season-high 19 digs.
Trailing 17-14 in the first, Centenary scored four straight to take its first lead of the match. After an error by Austin College, two aces from senior Shyann Pisano tied the set. A Kelley kill ended the run. Ladies later trailed 22-21, but a Shaw kill and a 'Roos attack error put the home team back on top. A kill by Austin College's Mayson Kennon retied the set, but a Davis kill and an Austin College hitting error ended the marathon set.
Austin College led 16-13 in set two, but Centenary used two long service runs by Sandoval and junior Kristian Loving to take the frame by eight. An error by the 'Roos brought Sandoval to the service line. A Shaw kill and Austin College error tied the set before a Sandoval ace and a Davis Kill pushed the home team's lead to two. Austin College pulled with one with a kill, but seven straight points ended the second. During the run, Davis hit a trio of kills, Epley added a pair of successful attacks, and two 'Roos errors put the Ladies up a pair of sets.
Sandoval matched a season high with 24 digs.
Austin College used an 11-1 edge on the block to keep the match close. With the visitors up 12-11 in the third, Kristen Massey and Kennon recorded a pair of kills. A Centenary hitting error and a Sam Fawcett ace extend the 'Roos lead to five. Austin College later led 19-14, but an 11-4 run by the Ladies finished the match.
Kennon led Austin College with eight kills, while Christine Royalty finished with eight blocks.
In a weird coincidence in the first match against Trinity, both teams had a player break the career digs record. Lawson broke the Centenary record in the first set with the Ladies up 5-2. She finished the match with 11 digs.
For Trinity, Sarah Mullens broke the record on the point that put the Tigers up 17-10 in the third. She finished the match with 16 digs.
Davis and Kelley led Centenary with six kills each. Emily Ellis led the Tigers with 12 kills.
Centenary finishes SCAC play Sunday, October 28, with a pair of matches. The Ladies play the Bulldogs at 10 a.m. and Schreiner at 2 p.m. Centenary will celebrate senior day before the 2 p.m. match. The Ladies either need a win in either match or a loss by Austin College in either of its matches to clinch a spot in the SCAC Tournament for the second straight year.