PIKEVILLE – It was a disappointing week for the University of Pikeville volleyball team, who were beaten in three games at the University of Rio Grande on Tuesday, and then lost a heartbreaking five game affair back home against Berea College on Wednesday.
The Bears drop to 3-14 on the season with the two losses, and their defeat at Rio Grande means they remain winless in the Mid-South Conference at 0-7. Their next chance to break out of their slump will come Friday when they visit Asbury University.
Mountaineers 3, Bears 2: The Bears came out motivated by their defeat the previous night. Having led most of the way, they eventually put the Mountaineers away emphatically via Kara Stambaugh’s kill to take a 25-21 win in the first game.
Game 2 would provide more of a challenge though, with Berea coming back from an early deficit to pull through with a 25-19 win. Dounseroux gave the home fans a scare when she went down late in the match, but was able to continue playing and even recorded an ace on the following serve.
Game 3 was a much more even battle than either of the previous ones, with neither team able to open more than a three-point lead. Eventually, sophomore Taylor Bragg was able to get the Bears a 19-18 lead with an ace, and her team never trailed again. The Bears put in a late surge to win Game 3 25-21, but Game 4 was all about the Mountaineers, who pulled off an 11-4 run at one point en route to a 25-16 victory.
In the decisive Game 5, Berea took the lead first and simply never gave it up again. Bears Head Coach Shannon Gassman called timeout after Berea opened the game with a 5-1 lead, but the Bears had already given up too much ground. Great blocking by Zunilda Lynch and Kyra Robinson was too much for UPIKE to overcome as they lost the game 15-7, and the match 3-2.
Dounseroux led the Bear attack with 10 kills and added 32 assists. Stambaugh followed with seven kills, while Watkins had six and senior Brittany Hodge five.
Hodge had 16 digs for the Bears while Dounseroux contributed 13.
Redstorm 3, Bears 0: The visit to the Redstorm was marked by dominance up front for the hosts, as Rio Grande clinically put the Bears away by scores of 25-12, 25-10 and 25-14.
The Bears were able to manage only 10 kills throughout the match, compared to 47 for the Redstorm, who were led by their seniors Whitney Smith (17 kills) and Erin Sherman (15 kills).
Stephanie Dounseroux emerged as a positive for the Bears by providing all seven of the team’s assists.