IRVING, Texas – Down by five points in a set against the 'Roos? The Ladies have their opponents right where they want them.
Centenary (18-18) rallied from a five-point deficit early in the first two sets to take the win, and dominated Austin College (16-18) in set three for the 25-23, 25-22, 25-18 win in the fifth place match of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Saturday night, November 3.
The Ladies took all three matches against the 'Roos (all in the last two weeks) in 2018 – including the last eight sets. Centenary also trailed by at least five points in eight of the nine sets won against Austin College this season.
However, unlike the first two matches, Centenary overcame the big deficits early. The Ladies trailed 5-0 out of the gate and 7-3 in set one, but four unanswered tied the set. Two kills from senior Shyann Pisano, an Austin College error, and a kill from Shannon Orlopp tied the set. Centenary never trailed by less than two the rest of the set.
Later with the set tied at 21, Centenary scored three unanswered to give themselves three set points. Two Dallas errors and an ace by senior Amanda Farr pushed the Ladies to 24. Dallas repelled two set points, but a kill from freshman Alyssa Davis put the Ladies up.
Davis finished with a match high 18 kills. Pisano added eight kills.
Centenary trailed 9-4 in the second and scored three straight. After an Austin College hitting error, Orlopp and freshman Rachel Demerjian put up a block. Another 'Roos error cut the deficit to two. Austin College later led 11-9 before two kills from Davis and a ball handling error by the 'Roos gave Centenary its first lead since 1-0. Both teams split the next two points before five unanswered by the Ladies. After a senior Michaela Brantley kill, freshman Marissa Sandoval struck an ace. Pisano and Orlopp each added a kill around another Sandoval ace.
Austin College cut it down 23-22, but two Davis kills put Centenary up a pair of sets.
Sandoval ended the match with a match high 19 digs. Sandoval now has 1,239 digs for her career, just 66 short of senior Hailey Lawson's career record of 1,305. In her final collegiate match, Lawson finished with 11 to eclipse the 1,300-career dig mark.
Demerjian added 39 assists and completed her 20th double-double of the season on the final point of the match (10 digs). Demerjian finished the season with an NCAA Division III era record 1,015 assists for the season – becoming the third Ladies volleyball player to break the 1,000-mark for assists in a season plateau.
The Ladies chose to go against the grain and never trailed after a 2-1 deficit in set three. Down 2-1, senior Makenzie Shaw and Pisano wrapped kills around an Austin College error. The Ladies built a lead as big as eight in the set.
Leading 23-18, two Austin College errors ended the match.
This concludes the Ladies season. The 18 wins are the second-most in program history and the .500 record is only the third time, and the first in seven seasons, Centenary finished .500 or better for a season.