BIRMINGHAM, ALA. – Michaela Reesor posted a double-double with 25 kills and 12 digs to lead the Samford volleyball team to a 3-2 (22-25, 25-17, 25-20, 23-25, 17-15) victory over Furman in a thrilling Southern Conference match-up in Birmingham on Saturday.
The teams battled through 15 ties in the opening set, settling at 22-22, before Furman reeled off three-straight points off kills from seniors Caroline Adams and Natalie Braun, coupled with a Bulldog attack error, to end the set at 25-22.
Samford evened the score in set two, putting together an 8-2 run in the middle of the set to claim a 19-10 advantage. The Paladins scored three consecutive points to cut the deficit to six, but the Bulldogs kept control of the set for a 25-17 victory.
The Bulldogs led wire-to-wire in the third set after building a quick 9-4 lead. Furman came within three points of Samford at 21-18 following a kill by senior Chandler Ambrester, but the Bulldogs won four of the set's last six points to take a 2-1 set advantage.
Down 16-15 in set four, the Paladins came alive, notching four straight points sparked by Braun's serves. Samford tied the match at 22-apiece before back-to-back kills from Adams and Braun gave the Paladins match-point. Katie Murphy's kill kept the Bulldogs in the match, but a final Samford service error gave Furman a 25-23 set victory to force a decisive fifth set.
The Paladins built a quick 6-3 lead in set five, but the Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run to seemingly gain control of the match. Furman answered with a 3-0 run of its own to tie the match at nine, and the teams battled back-and-forth before the Paladins took a 14-12 lead off a kill by Braun. Samford took advantage of a Paladin service error and hitting error to tie the score at 14-all, then Furman tied the match at 15 following a Bulldog service error. Reesor's kill put Samford ahead, before a block by Elizabeth Neisler and Lauren Hutchinson sealed the 17-15 win.
Three Paladins recorded double-doubles in the match-up, as Ambrester notched a team-high 18 kills and 15 digs, while Braun tallied 20 digs and 11 kills. Freshman Jo Wilks paced the team with 50 assists and added 13 digs. Junior Elle Ross also collected 20 digs for Furman. Adams hit .423 with 13 kills and five blocks, while junior Christina Dorismond had 12 kills and six blocks for the evening.
Murphy hit .405 and added 19 kills for Samford (12-6, 4-0 SoCon), while Casey Garvey notched a team-high 61 assists. Alexis Bauer paced the Bulldog defense with 32 digs.
Furman (12-5, 1-2 SoCon) will play at Wofford Tuesday at 6 p.m.