Chattanooga Volleyball Downs Bulldogs in Five

Maclellan Gym was rocking on Friday night. The Chattanooga Mocs’ indoor volleyball team found themselves down 2-0 to the visiting Samford Bulldogs and the comeback began. The following three sets featured 29 ties and 10 lead changes as the Blue and Gold completed a thrilling five-set comeback victory over the SoCon preseason favorites, 3-2 (18-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-16, 15-12).

SET 1 ∙ SAM 25, UTC 18
SET 2 ∙ SAM 25, UTC 19
SET 3 ∙ UTC 25, SAM 23
SET 4 ∙ UTC 25, SAM 16
SET 5 ∙ UTC 15, SAM 12

Samford started off with the lead in the first set and never gave it up. The Bulldogs held a sizable lead throughout the opening frame and after a Chattanooga timeout down 20-14, the Mocs were unable to comeback. The Bulldogs outhit UTC .244-.060 led by Kayla Keshock with five kills and a .571 clip. Gylian Finch led the Mocs in the opening frame with five kills on 17 swings.

The second set featured five ties and four lead changes, all within the first 20 points. After the set was tied at 10, Samford went on a 4-1 run, forcing the Mocs to call timeout. The Bulldogs continued their run, ultimately taking a 20-13 lead. Samford won the set on Keshock’s second ace of the frame. The Bulldogs limited UTC to hitting under .100 for the second straight set, while Samford hit a match-high .263.

The third set was the turning point. Samford had an 11-8 lead but the Mocs’ attack battled back with kills from Maia Rackel and Kate Neill to retake the lead. The set was back and forth until Samford took a 23-21 lead. The Mocs stayed alive with a kill from Lauren Baker and then Liz Tomlin stepped behind the service line. Tomlin served the next three point to close out the match which included an ace, a Samford error and Rackel’s third kill of the set. Both teams hit under .120 in the set, but Tomlin’s ace and 12 kills for the Blue and Gold forced a fourth set.

Like the third frame the fourth set started out neck and neck. With the match tied at 12, Rackel slotted a kill, putting Tomlin back behind the service line. Tomlin served four straight points to start the spark for the Mocs. Finch recorded her first ace of the match to give the Mocs their largest lead of the night, up 19-15.

After Samford called its first timeout, Coniah Davis recorded a kill followed by two more Finch aces. The Mocs put the match away behind two kills from Neill and a set-sealing kill from Davis.

The magic in Maclellan continued in the fifth. The match was tied at five as the Mocs sparked the first run of the set, three straight points to force Samford into their first timeout. Out of the timeout, Samford went on a 5-2 run, tying the set at 10 with a kill from Kenya McQuirter. The Mocs won five of the next six points to win the match. Paige Gallentine recorded her only two aces of the match for the final two points of the contest to cap off the comeback. On her 22nd birthday, Finch concluded the match with four kills on five swings in the fifth set, hitting .800.