BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Shawnee State first-year head coach Devan Scarberry won her first career match on Saturday morning against Cumberlands (Ky.) — — while the Bears got strong performances from many individuals including Macie Rhoads, Alexis Palazzo, Bethany Colling, Maddie Payne and Emilee Cochran among others — in a five-set victory over Cumberlands (Ky.) and a scant five-set setback to Campbellsville on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday morning’s victory over Cumberlands (Ky.) — as part of the Vette City Classic in Bowling Green (Ky.)— marked the first career coaching victory for Scarberry, who is in her first season as the Bears’ head coach.
Scarberry has been with the SSU program since 2011, either as a player or as an assistant coach.
Shawnee State 3, Cumberlands (Ky. 2)
(25-13, 27-25, 22-25, 16-25, 15-12)
Throughout the first two sets of action, play was dominated by the efficiency of Rhoads on her attacks.
In the opening set alone, Rhoads posted nine kills — including five spikes over the opening 14 volleys of play — to help Shawnee State dominate the first frame en route to a 25-13 victory.
Rhoads then posted four kills over the first 22 volleys in the second set, allowing the Bears to jump out to a 15-8 lead.
Not out of the match by any means, the Patriots went on a 9-3 run to close the lead to an 18-17 margin.
However, SSU shut Cumberlands (Ky.)’s comeback attempt down, going on a 4-0 run via kills from Rhoads and Colling, and then, with the score tied at 24 apiece following a 5-1 run from the Patriots, got a kill each from Rhoads and Madison Rowe to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Fueled by its late second-set spurt, Cumberlands stepped up its efforts late.
Shawnee State, through the first 29 volleys of the third set, did an outstanding job spreading out its attack — as Rhoads obtained four kills while six additional players notched at least one kill en route to establishing a 17-12 advantage.
Down by five points and needing to rally, the Patriots turned to star frontline player Lily Chapman.
Chapman ultimately notched five kills in turning the third set around for Cumberlands, as the Patriots went on a 10-3 run en route to ultimately claiming a 25-22 victory.
Cumberlands then went back to the well with Chapman once again, as the junior outside hitter notched five additional kills in a 15-6 run that broke a 10-10 tie and allowed the Patriots to extend the match to a fifth and final set.
However, in the fifth and final frame, SSU wasn’t to be denied.
With two early kills from Rhoads and a kill apiece from Rowe and Palazzo, Shawnee State shot out to an 8-2 advantage.
However, Cumberlands again made life difficult on the Bears, obtaining 11 of the next 14 volleys to take a 13-11 lead.
From there, though, it was the Bears which held the upper hand — as Shawnee State claimed each of the next four points as Colling, Nash Shelby and Rhoads did not allow the Patriots’ frontline to get the ball past the net to claim an exciting 15-13 triumph and the match.
Campbellsville 3, Shawnee State 2
(15-25, 25-23, 24-26, 25-23, 15-13)
In the opening set against Campbellsville, Rhoads and Shelby combined for five kills while Bella Gill notched a pair of solo blocks, allowing Shawnee State to take a 7-2 lead and grow it from there in a 25-15 victory.
However, after 27 ties or lead changes in the second set, Shawnee State lost the advantage late, with a 23-22 lead falling by the wayside due to kills from Sutton Mason and Hannah McGill —which allowed Campbellsville to close the second set on a 3-0 run.
In the third set of play, a dandy broke out once again.
Trailing by five on three different occasions and by six points (21-15) on a fourth occasion, Shawnee State dialed up a balanced attack, with Rhoads and Colling combining for two kills apiece and Rowe and Shelby each adding one themselves — spearheading a 10-2 run that allowed the Bears to take a huge third-set victory in an excellent comeback.
Just like the second and third set, the fourth set proved to be a barnburner.
Following 27 ties or lead changes in the second set, Shawnee State and Campbellsville tied or traded the point 25 additional times in the fourth set.
SSU took a 13-10 lead off four kills from Rhoads — and a kill each from Gill, Palazzo and Rowe.
However, Campbellsville sported a well-balanced attack of its own, and got two kills each from Sonia Flendrich and Taylor Weirich, two aces from Flendrich and an ace from Stela Velinova — which allowed the Tigers to rally back and take the set by a 26-24 margin.
In the fifth and final set, Shawnee State took a 10-7 advantage on a kill each from Rhoads, Maria Kolinoff, Shelby and Colling.
However, a set-ending 8-2 run by Campbellsville proved to be the nail in the coffin — as Flendrich and Mason each claimed a pair of kills for Campbellsville to give the Tigers a 15-12 fifth-set victory and the match.
Throughout the matches, Rhoads proved to be outstanding, combining for an incredible 43 kills between the two contests in 116 attack attempts.
Rhoads notched a .319 attack percentage over the two contests, posted a double-double for all four contests over the weekend, and put up a career-high 26 kills in 51 attack attempts against Cumberlands (Ky.).
She also posted 36 digs between the two affairs.
Behind Rhoads, Collings’ 20 kills and 47 attack attempts and Palazzo’s 14 kills on 34 attack attempts also proved to be efficient.
Palazzo notched a .324 attack percentage, while Colling notched a .255 percentage on her own accord.
Payne’s 47 assists — including 28 against Cumberlands — and Kolinoff’s 34 dimes — with 21 coming against Campbellsville — helped set the table offensively.
Defensively, Cochran continued to shine, posting 38 digs between the two affairs with a new career-high of 22 coming in the five-set victory over Cumberlands.
Kolinoff added in 30 digs, while Alexa Ball posted 22 herself.
Shawnee State (1-3) returns to action with a home match — on Monday, Feb. 15 — against Cumberlands (Ky.) for what will be its first official conference (Mid-South Conference) affair.
Game time is set for 6 p.m.
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