ATLANTA — The Berry College volleyball team's historic season will continue on to the regional finals for the first time in program history after a miraculous five-set victory over the Covenant College Scots on Friday night.
After dropping the first two sets (25-18, 25-23), the Vikings completed a reverse sweep to improve to 30-6 on the year, the program's best record since Berry joined NCAA Divsion III. Berry will now await the winner of Emory and Christopher Newport in the regional finals tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. to be held at the Woodruff PE Center on Emory's campus.
Emily Hancock caught fire in the final three sets, finishing with a program-record 27 kills for a five-set match. She also added 27 digs and hit .418 in the contest. Another highlight for the Vikings was Sarah Sprague coming off the bench. The junior had a career night recording 15 kills and hit .314 to help Berry to a win.
The Covenant Scots flexed their muscles in the opening set, showing how they had scorched their way to a 17-match win streak to get to this point. The Covenant back row held the Vikings offense to a mere .026 attack percentage and just seven kills. Covenant hit .286 and found 14 kills to secure the opening set win.
Berry was just edged in set two 25-23, having a much more successful offensive attack. The Scots recorded 15 kills to Berry's 14, and also committed one fewer attacking error to squeak out a 2-0 set lead.
Set three was a huge momentum swing for Berry. With Berry leading 9-8 in the set, a long battle ended with a kill from Sprauge. The Vikings the won 10 of the next 12 points to hold a 20-10 advantage and force a fourth set.
The battle between Covenant setter Schuyler Moore and Vikings' libero Elizabeth Ragland began to heat up in the fourth set. The aggressive setter's attacks began failing to find their mark due to Ragland's adjustment to Moore's tips. She finished with 31 digs in the match with many coming in the later sets. The Vikings held on 25-20 and would go to set five for the second straight night.
With a 13-10 lead, back-to-back kills from Sprague would seal the Vikings win. Berry's defense held Covenant to a .042 attack percentage in the decisive set, while the Vikings hit .333 as a team.
- Emily Hancock: 27 K, .418 K%, 27 D
- Sarah Sprague: 15 K, .314 K%
- Hannah Kate Thompson: 55 A, 4 D
- Elizabeth Ragland: 31 D
- Carson VanCampen: 5 K, 5 BLK
- Hannah Harris: 18 K, .283 K%, 2 BLK
- Jessica Seehorn: 11 K, 14 D, 3 BLK
- Schuyler Moore: 5 K, 37 A
- Ginny Moore: 7 K, 22 D
- Hannah Stewart: 22 D
Berry College postgame press conference
All photos courtesy of Jack Lewis