Birmingham, Ala. – After evening the match at one with a hard-fought 30-28 set two win, Furman couldn't overcome slow starts in the final two sets, dropping a 3-1 match to Samford on Saturday afternoon. The loss drops the Paladins to 9-13 on the year and 5-5 in SoCon play, while the win moves the Bulldogs to 15-10 and 5-5 in SoCon play.
Annie Bierman led Furman with 13 kills and 16 digs for her 13th double-double of the season, while seven other Paladins had at least one kill. Ashton Stocker dished out 36 assists and added 13 digs for her fourth double-double of the season.
Furman opened up a five-point lead at 11-6 to start the first set, until Samford rattled off a 7-0 run to take a 13-11 lead. The Bulldogs opened up their largest lead of the set at 15-12, then held the three-point lead at 16-13, forcing a Furman timeout. The Bulldogs pushed the lead to four at 18-14, but the Paladins used four-straight points to cut the lead to 18-17 and force a Bulldog timeout. The teams traded points until the Paladins regained the lead at 21-20, but the Bulldogs took the lead back at 23-22, forcing a Furman timeout. Furman tied the set at 23, but Samford got back-to-back kills to take set one, 25-23, for a 1-0 match lead.
The teams traded points early in the second set until Samford used three quick points to take an 11-8 lead and force a Furman timeout. Out of the timeout, the Bulldogs continued on their run, pushing the lead to 14-8, until Furman got a kill by Cynthia Ley to cut the lead to 14-9. The teams then traded points again until Samford matched its largest lead of the match at 17-11. The Paladins then used a 7-2 run to cut the lead to one at 19-18, forcing a Bulldog timeout. Trailing 22-20, Furman used a 4-0 run to take a 24-22 lead and prompt Samford's final timeout of the set. Out of the timeout, the Bulldogs got back-to-back points to tie the set at 24, prompting Furman to take its final timeout of the set. The teams then traded points until the Paladins took advantage of a Samford service error and a block by Cynthia Ley and Jamila Johnson to take the prolonged second set, 30-28, to tie the match at one.
Samford took a 2-1 match lead, winning set three 25-15, and continued to hold the momentum into the fourth set, opening up an early 7-1 lead. The Paladins rallied to cut the lead to three at 9-6, but the Bulldogs used a 5-1 run to open up a 14-7 lead. The Paladins could not recover from the early deficit, dropping set four 25-12, and the match, 3-1.
Furman is back in action on Friday, October 28, hosting Chattanooga in Alley Gym in a 6:00 p.m. matchup.