After taking a 2-1 match lead, the Covenant volleyball team dropped the final two sets by a combined four points to USA South rival Maryville as the visitors claimed a 3-2 (26-24, 20-25, 23-25, 26-24, 15-13) victory inside a newly renovated Barnes Physical Education Center on Tuesday night.
Covenant drops to 12-9 overall and 5-4 in conference play. Maryville keeps its perfect USA South record intact at 9-0 to go along with a 12-15 overall mark.
The match was in stark contrast with the first matchup between these schools on Sept. 17 in Maryville. On that night, Maryville cruised to a three-set sweep of the Lady Scots. In Tuesday night's contest, Covenant went toe-to-toe with the preseason favorite to win the conference.
The first game was a sign of things to come throughout the night as the teams traded points throughout. Maryville took a 16-10 lead but Covenant would come back to tie the set up at 24 on an assisted block from Chelsea VanDyk and Stephanie Kirkpatrick. Covenant could not quite get over the hump, however, as consecutive kills gave the visitors a 26-24 set win.
In the second set, Covenant jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead as they took advantage of several Maryville errors. The Lady Scots would not trail in the set from that point on as they took a 25-20 win to tie the match at 1-1. Covenant accumulated 13 kills as a team in the set.
Covenant would have to rally in the third set as they fell behind 15-10 and also trailed 21-20 late in the game. Van Dyk gave Covenant a 24-23 lead with another kill and Estes Carlson would follow with a tremendous serve that the Maryville defense could not handle to end the set and put Covenant ahead 2-1 in the match.
The confident Lady Scots took command early on in the fourth set as they led by as many as six points at 18-12. Maryville would begin to chip away at its deficit as they caught up at 22-22 and would go ahead 24-22. Covenant did not back down as they scored two straight points on back-to-back kills from VanDyk to knot the score at 24. But the visitors had the final answer as they got a kill from Taylor Guidi and a Covenant error to take a 26-24 win.
The deciding set was back-and-forth until Maryville grabbed a slim four-point lead at 13-9. After a Covenant timeout, Caroline Cone registered a kill and, coupled with an error by the visitors, cut the Lady Scots' deficit to 13-11. Maryville made it 14-11, but a kill by VanDyk and another Maryville error brought Covenant to within 14-13. Maryville would end it there as a well placed attack from Kelsey Handel fell on the Covenant side.
VanDyk recorded 22 kills, five digs, one solo block and five block assists to lead the Lady Scots. Kirkpatrick tallied her 10th double-double this season, and nearly had a triple-double, with 40 assists, 16 digs and nine kills. Cora Schroeder accumulated 11 digs and a team-high 19 digs. Hannah Rogers added nine kills. Anna Swain had 16 digs while Carlson and Cone had 13 and 11 digs, respectively.
Maryville was led by Julia Vineyard's 13 kills to lead four players in double digit kills. Lauren Bonee had 28 assists while her sister Mallory Bonee produced a match-high 25 digs.
Covenant will host a USA South quad-match on Saturday. Covenant hosts North Carolina Wesleyan at 10 a.m. before playing William Peace at 4 p.m.