Pikeville suffers shutout loss to Cumberland

Times Staff Report

September 18, 2013

PIKEVILLE – The University of Pikeville volleyball team struggled to a .058 hitting percentage as Cumberland (Tenn.) snapped a two-match winning streak with a 3-0 shutout win on Saturday at UPIKE Gym.

Chelsea Staples and Audri Ray were the two lone bright spots on the attack for the Bears. The pair finished with six kills each, while Staples had a hitting mark of .417 and Ray tallied a .294 mark.

Sydney Hall finished with a team-high three blocks for the Bears, Dominique Melvin had 10 digs and Sydney Morris dished out 19 assists.

But none of it was enough to slow the Bulldogs and their .195 hitting performance. Sheridan Jones led the way with 10 kills of 21 swings, while Karli Collins finished with 12 digs and both Jones and Abby Shaw sent back six blocks.

Pikeville battled in the first set before losing by two 25-23, but never kept itself in the match in the final two frames, losing 25-11 and 25-15.

The Bears were on the road at Bluefield (Va.) on Tuesday evening. The Pikeville-Bluefield match ended too late to make this edition.

Pikeville 3, Cumberlands 2: Behind Haley Esquivel and Rachel Murphy getting 14 and 13 kills, respectively, the University of Pikeville volleyball team won its first Mid-South Conference match since 2010 on Friday, topping Cumberlands (Ky.) 3-2 at UPIKE Gym.

It’s also the first conference win for second-year head coach Shannon Gassman. Cumberlands (3-3, 0-3 MSC) had not lost to Pikeville since Oct. 23, 2007.

For the second straight match, UPIKE (5-5, 1-2 MSC) had to earn a win using all five sets. The Bears got the win with scores of 26-24, 19-25, 25-15, 16-25 and 15-10.

Audri Ray and Sydney Hall also got into the mix for the Bears with nine kills each, while setter Sydney Morris dished out a match-high 45 assists. Libero Dominique Melvin led the defense with 24 digs and Chelsea Staples finished with three blocks.

For Cumberlands, it was Jennifer Philpot leading the attack with 12 kills and Kelsey Eastham adding 11. Sydney Beck finished with 19 digs and Celine Du Tolt tallied a match-best five blocks.

Pikeville hit .181 for the match, compared to .228 for the Patriots, but the Bears did have five less service errors.