PIKEVILLE, Ky. – The University of Pikeville volleyball team had perhaps its best outing of the season Thursday evening, defeating the visiting Golden Bears from West Virginia University Institute of Technology in a three game sweep.
The Bears improve to 4-11 on the season, including a streak of three straight wins and a 4-1 record in their last five games. More importantly, the Bears picked up their first league win of the season, bringing them to 1-3 in the Mid-South Conference.
Game One had an inauspicious beginning, as a lapse in communication led to UPIKE surrendering the opening point. Strong play along the frontline carried the Bears, and WVU Tech was forced to call a timeout midway through the game when UPIKE took a 12-9 lead. The Bears were too focused to have their momentum disrupted, and went on to win the game 25-19 after pulling away late.
Game Two saw the emergence of a recurring trend, as the visiting Golden Bears struggled to avoid serving errors, particularly at critical moments. Though WVU Tech led early, UPIKE eventually tied the game at 13-13, which led to a fast-paced sequence in which neither team led by more than one point.
The scoring race was eventually taken over by UPIKE after a WVU Tech serving error put the Bears up 22-21 and took the proverbial wind out of the Golden Bears’ sails. UPIKE closed the game out quickly to earn a 25-21 win.
Determined not to be swept, WVU Tech opened game three with a four-point run. This was countered effectively when UPIKE went on a five-point run to take the lead. With the Bears seemingly cruising to the victory, WVU Tech uncorked an 8-2 rally courtesy of a reenergized bench.
This energy was suddenly sapped after another serving error by the Golden Bears brought UPIKE within two points. The Bears took their chance and soon tied the score at 19 to force a WVU Tech timeout. After back-to-back serving errors brought the score to 20-all, UPIKE seized the lead permanently to take a 25-21 win and a 3-0 victory in the match.
The Bears were led on offense by sophomore Paige Thacker, who had eight kills. Freshman Audrianna Ray followed with five. Junior setter Brooke Parrott had 19 assists in the win.
On defense, senior Libero Shelbi White led UPIKE with 18 digs in the victory. Thacker was solid on the defensive side as well, finishing with two solo blocks and one block assist.
UPIKE will be back in action on Monday night when they entertain Georgetown College in another Mid-South Conference match, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the UPIKE Gym.