The Oglethorpe volleyball team ran into a tough opponent from Piedmont Sunday afternoon on the final day of the Stormy Petrel Challenge at Dorough Field House, and the visiting Lions were able to knock off the Stormy Petrels 3-0. The result dropped Oglethorpe to 2-1 on the season and solidified Piedmont as the only undefeated team from the 4-team weekend event.
The Petrels were competitive in all three sets, but the visiting Lions eventually prevailed in all three. The home side got off to a 5-3 lead in the first, but Piedmont responded with a 7-2 run to take a 10-5 lead. Oglethorpe mounted a big comeback of their own, winning five points in a row to tie the score at 12-12 and eventually taking a 16-15 lead. Four points in a row gave the Lions a 19-16 lead, though, and they finished the set on a 6-2 run to win it 25-20.
Piedmont ran out to a big lead in the second set. They led 12-5 early before Oglethorpe went on a 4-1 minirun to cut the lead to four, 13-9. Then, Piedmont embarked on a 10-2 stretch to all but put the set away, giving themselves a 23-11 lead. Impressively, the Petrels answered with a 9-1 run of their own. The Lions achieved set point at 24-15, but the home side rebounded with five consecutive points to make it 24-20. Oglethorpe just gave themselves too little margin for error, though, and the visitors won the set 25-20.
The Lions opened up the third stanza playing well, too. They outscored the Petrels 4-0 at the outset, then built their advantage to 10-4. They continued to slowly increase their lead, moving up to 13-6, then 16-8. Oglethorpe again responded, though, using a 5-1 run to cut their deficit to just four points, 17-13. After the two teams traded a few, it was 21-17 in favor of Piedmont. The Lions closed the match out from there, though. They ran off four consecutive points to give themselves a 25-17 third-set victory and complete the sweep.
Senior setter Jordan Jones recorded 14 assists and 13 digs on the afternoon. Sophomore libero Taryn North led the Petrels with 15 digs, while junior outside hitter Santreece Stephens and freshman outside hitter Jacoby Sims finished with six kills apiece. Junior middle hitter Ashlee Tolbert finished with five total blocks, assisting on four and earning one solo block, while hitting .333 for the match.
"Credit goes to Piedmont for the win today. They played very well, I thought," said Oglethorpe head coach Joseph Goodson. "I think today was just a matter of Piedmont being farther along in the process than we are. They were better than us today, but we play them twice more this season and we've got a lot of volleyball left in general, obviously, so we'll bounce back from this. Overall, I thought it was a successful weekend from our standpoint. We picked up two wins, including that huge comeback over Illinois Tech yesterday, so I think there's a lot of good we can take from this weekend, and we'll get ready to move onto the next challenge on Wednesday."
The Petrels will travel up Lookout Mountain on Wednesday to take on in-state opponent Covenant in their first road match of the season at 7 p.m. After that, they'll return home to Dorough Field House for a pair of non-conference contests on back-to-back nights, one of them against the same Lions team. The Petrels welcome Piedmont back on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. after taking on Division II side Clark Atlanta the previous night at 6:30 p.m.