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Lauren Ketron

First-year outside hitter Lauren Ketron goes for a kill.

Volleyball shares HCAC season title

A tie for the regular-season Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference crown and a first-ever national ranking were among the rewards for the volleyball team in a 19-11 season that included a 7-2 league record.

Under head coach Casey Dale, the Pioneers finished in an extraordinary five-way tie for the HCAC title with Bluffton University, Hanover College, the College of Mount St. Joseph, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, each with a 7-2 record. Transylvania, the preseason favorite in a coaches’ poll to win the HCAC, lost conference matches to Bluffton and Mount St. Joseph, both times in the Beck Center.

The Pioneers won their last regular-season conference match, a tight 3-2 battle at Manchester College, to clinch the season title tie. First-year outside hitter Lauren Ketron came through for Transylvania with 25 kills, and senior setter Rebecca Luking added 44 assists.

After a slow start to the season in the Thomas More College Invitational, where the Pioneers were 1-4, Transylvania played well in the Juniata College Invitational and went 2-1 with wins over Franklin & Marshall College and Randolph-Macon College. The Pioneers then swept their three matches in the Centre College Invitational with shutouts over Fisk University, Kenyon College, and Marietta College.

Transylvania hosted Rose-Hulman in the Beck Center in a first-round HCAC tournament matchup. After taking a 2-0 lead, the Pioneers dropped the next three sets, and the Engineers advanced to the conference semifinals.

Luking finished as Transylvania’s single-season and career record holder for both assists (1317/3492) and service aces (69/165). She was joined on the All-HCAC first team by sophomore middle blocker Meghan Bowers, who topped the Pioneers in kills for the season with 301.

Ketron and libero Rachel D’Agnillo were named to the HCAC All-Freshman team. Ketron was second in kills for the Pioneers with 283 while D’Agnillo led in digs with 410.

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