WINTER PARK, Fla. – The Rollins Tars fell in the RollinsSportsStore.com Volleyball Crossover finale when they were swept by the Harding Lady Bisons, 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-21), Sunday afternoon at Warden Arena.
Rollins (14-11) stumbled out of the gates when it dropped the first set, 25-22. The Lady Bisons (14-11) and Tars had identical .225 hitting percentages in the first frame, but Rollins was unable to overcome a couple late mental mistakes.
Tied at 17, back-to-back attacking errors preceded a Manuela Nesheva cross-court kill to cap the Lady Bisons 4-0 run. Trailing 21-17, the Tars cut the deficit to two, but Nesheva secured the win with two more kills to capture the win.
A weak start plagued the Tars in the second stanza when it tallied just eight total kills in the set. With a .025 attacking percentage, Rollins' offense was quieted in frame as Harding tallied 24 digs, six a piece from Amber Schinzing and Sarah Phipps.
Rollins fell behind by 11 at 20-9, but mounted a mini-run late to inch back into the set at 18-23. However, Reagan Smith and Sarah Phipps tallied the final to kills for the Lady Bisons to clinch the victory, 25-19.
Another late start forced the Tars to fall behind in the third frame when they found themselves trailing 11-7 nearing the midway point of the set. Rollins eventually went down by eight at 21-13, but again mustered a late run as they cut the Lady Bisons’ lead to two at 23-21. After a Harding timeout, the Lady Bisons earned back-to-back kills from Phipps and Mesker to achieve the win.
Freshman Kayla Austin, making her first start at the setter position, tallied 30 assists and six digs. She also chipped in with two assisted blocks, when she teamed with fellow freshman Jill Lau and middle blocker Jenny Sherwood. Lau and Sherwood both finished with four assisted blocks as the team collected seven.
Harding, who currently sit atop the Gulf South Conference West Standings, are now 2-0 in the all-time series against Rollins. The Lady Bisons defeated the Tars in Searcy, Ark., last year, 3-1.
Rollins returns to conference action when it travels to Lakeland, Fla., for a match against Florida Southern, Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.