PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – The Shawnee State volleyball program obtained two career-highs as Brianna Wiget obtained 17 kills and Bonnie Huesing added 47 assists to head up a strong effort, but it was not to be as Cumberland defeated Shawnee State by a 3-1 (28-30, 22-25, 25-19, 21-25) count in a Mid-South Conference contest at Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
Even though the match went in the direction of the Bulldogs (11-9, 6-3 MSC), the Bears (10-9, 2-7 MSC) hung right with Cumberland in every category, including attack percentage (.191 for Shawnee State compared to .206 for the Bulldogs), kills (54 to 59), assists (53 to 56), and digs (76 to 77).
Behind the efforts of Wiget and Huesing, the Bears were able to start off fast as Shawnee State took a 6-3 lead off of three kills from the sophomore before Cumberland answered with an 8-2 run to take an 11-8 advantage.
The Bulldogs then extended that aforementioned edge to a 19-13 tally before the Bears answered back with a furious flurry of its own behind two kills from Lauren Helbig and a kill each from Ashley Galbraith and Christina Shelton to go on a 10-3 tilt in giving Shawnee State a one-point lead late in the going.
Both squads then proceeded to go back and forth as the contest went into extra volleys, as the pair tied or took the lead away from each other in 11 straight volleys in sending the contest to a 28-all count.
With two attack errors, however, Shawnee State let Cumberland off of the hook as the Bulldogs took the first set by a 30-28 tally.
The Bears jumped out ahead of the Bulldogs again in the second set as Shawnee State jumped out to a 7-3 advantage off of two Helbig kills and kept the momentum in obtaining a 12-9 lead off of two more spikes by Brittany Mounts to hold Cumberland at bay.
Once again, the Bulldogs would make a charge, as Cumberland took five of the following half-dozen volleys off of kills by Maci Lerno and Ashley Sherrick in taking a 14-13 edge.
Both teams would spend the next half-dozen volleys trading the lead back and forth before Shawnee State went on a 3-0 run to take a 19-17 edge.
After being answered by a 3-0 run by the Bulldogs in falling behind by a 20-19 count, the Bears used an attack error and a kill by Wiget to get two of the next volleys and tie the score at 21-all.
However, Cumberland wasn’t having any of another Shawnee State tilt, as a 4-1 run off of two kills by Maci Lerno gave the Bulldogs a 25-22 victory in the second set.
In the third set of play, the Bears answered the bell from the start once again as two kills apiece by Galbraith and Shelton allowed Shawnee State to power on to an 11-7 edge to start the third frame.
After Cumberland scored two consecutive points to cut the gap to 11-9, the Bears would go on a game-deciding 8-2 tilt on the strength of two kills by Helbig to extend the gap to a 19-12 advantage.
From that point forward, Shawnee State was in control during the third set, as Wiget, Mounts, and Shelton each grabbed kills and Madison Knipp obtained a service ace to close the third contest out in the Bears’ favor, 25-19.
Both teams would trade the lead to start the fourth set as Cumberland took an early 6-3 advantage before Shawnee State struck with three points in a row to tie the contest at six off of two kills by Helbig.
Another 5-2 run by the Bulldogs was then answered again by the Bears as Shawnee State turned an 11-8 deficit into a 14-all contest by getting three more spikes from Helbig.
Cumberland, however, would turn the tables right back around as the Bulldogs utilized a 5-1 advantage to grab control of the fourth set in taking a 19-15 lead.
The Bears would fight valiantly to keep the contest close as Shelton and Wiget combined for a trio of spikes to cut the deficit down to just three late in the going.
However, Lerno’s 28 kills and 17 digs were just too much to overcome, as the junior laid down one final kill to close the set – and the match – out in Cumberland’s favor.
For Shawnee State, Wiget and Huesing would use their aforementioned career highs to jumpstart the offensive attack for the Bears on the day. Helbig and Shelton also contributed to the offensive showing as both added 13 kills apiece.
Defensively, Madison Smith would add 24 digs to lead the charge for Shawnee State, while Cassidy Shell recorded 14 digs of her own on the afternoon.
As far as the upcoming slate is concerned, the Bears will have four days of rest before traveling to play Campbellsville on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. Shawnee State’s next matchup at the Waller Gymnasium will come on Tuesday, Oct. 14 when the Bears host No. 17-ranked Georgetown. That contest will also be played at 7 p.m.