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Volleyball Sets Records in Season of Firsts

It was a season of firsts for the volleyball team as the Pioneers qualified for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament and produced a first-team all-conference player on their way to a 15-17 overall record. Transylvania set school records for total wins in a season, winning percentage (.468), most conference wins (4), and highest finish in regular-season league standings (5th).

“This year was a very big step forward for our program,” head coach Cindy Jacobelli said. “A lot of pieces of the puzzle finally fit together. The players started to feel what it was like to win consistently, for really the first time.”

Morgan White
Senior middle hitter Morgan White

Just past mid-season, the Pioneers stood 6-15 overall (0-4 in the HCAC) and seemed destined to fulfill the pre-season prediction of the coaches poll that placed them last in the conference. They then turned the year completely around by going 9-1 the rest of regular season play while bringing their HCAC record to 4-4, which secured them a spot in the post-season tournament.

Transy took on Anderson University in the first round of the HCAC tourney and dropped what proved to be a decisive first game by 35-33 before losing the next two (30-26, 30-24) as Anderson won the match 3-0.

In the midst of its 9-1 run, the team played in the Lynchburg Quad meet in Lynchburg, Va., winning two of three matches in a single day. The Pioneers’ 3-1 win over host Lynchburg College gave Jacobelli her 100th career win at Transy. Earlier in the season, Transy had a 3-1 record in its matches at the Bishop Volleyball Invitational, hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University, to capture third place in the meet.

“The coaches at the Lynchburg meet were very impressed with the speed of our offense and didn’t know how to defend us at certain points,” Jacobelli said. “We try to get the ball in and out of the setter’s hands very quickly, with our middle hitters in the air before she sets the ball.”

Senior middle hitter Morgan White became the first Transy player to be named to the All-HCAC first team. Her 309 kills made her just the second Pioneer to exceed 300 in a season, and her total of 871 kills places her second on the school’s all-time list. She was also named to the CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV team.

Junior outside hitter Sarah Ruckriegel was second in kills with 291, followed by first-year middle hitter Jordan Geisen with 248 and first-year outside hitter Jessica Visse at 220. First-year libero Sarah Sams excelled on defense with 509 digs for the year.

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