Cougar News
Volleyball - Mon, Nov. 5, 2012

MCKENZIE, Tenn. - Over the past four seasons, the Mid-Continent University volleyball team has made tremendous strides as a program. That, however, brings little solace after a heartbreaking end to their 2012 season.

The Cougars (14-20) could not have fought any harder on Monday at the TranSouth Championships, but they were unable to prolong their season, falling in straight sets to Bethel University (15-18) in their opening match, before letting a 2-1 lead slip away in a five set loss to Martin Methodist College (9-22) in the nightcap.

Bethel came out on fire in the first match, building a quick 10-2 lead, and cruising to a first set win by the score of 25-10. Bethel opened the second set on an 8-1 run, but Mid-Continent slowly clawed their way back into the match, cutting the deficit to three points late in the frame, at 23-20. The Cougars eventually pulled to within two at 24-22, but Bethel finished out the set on the next point, taking the set win 25-22. Mid-Continent built a 10-8 lead, and they held the lead for much of the stanza. With a 20-17 lead late in the set, Bethel bounced back, finishing the period on a 8-2 spurt to take the set 25-22, and the match 3-0.

Jenavera Gibson had 15 kills for Mid-Continent in the match, with Rachel Brueggeman dishing out 25 assists. Kristin Selph paced the Mid-Continent defense with 17 digs, and Alyssa Ybarra added 13 digs of her own.

The loss placed Mid-Continent in an elimination match at 7:30 p.m. with the Martin Methodist RedHawks, and the Cougars came out of the gates on fire. building an early 5-2 lead. Martin Methodist came back to claim an 11-8 edge, but the Cougars responded with a 8-1 run to take control of the set with a 16-12 lead. Martin Methodist pulled to within one at 16-17, but they were unable to draw even as Mid-Continent took the first set 25-19. The RedHawks again fell behind early in set number two, but a pair of long runs helped Martin Methodist square the match. The RedHawks put together spurts of 7-0 and 11-0 to turn an 8-6 deficit into a 24-9 lead, cruising to the set win 25-10. A 7-0 run midway through set number three put the RedHawks ahead 13-10, but Mid-Continent would respond. Six points later, and still trailing by three, Mid-Continent scored four straight points to claim a 17-16 lead. Three straight scores put the RedHawks back on top 19-16, but then Mid-Continent went on an 8-0 run to finish the set, highlighted by six consecutive Gibson service aces, as Mid-Continent took the stanza 25-19 and stepped to the cusp of victory. The teams were tied at 7 in the fourth set, when Martin Methodist seized the momentum with an 11-2 run to take an 18-9 lead. Mid-Continent scored twice to cut the margin to seven, but the RedHawks put the set away with a 7-1 run, taking the set 25-12 to force a decisive fifth frame. With the set tied at 3, Martin Methodist put together a 4-1 spurt to take a lead they would not relinquish. Mid-Continent closed to within one at 7-6, but the RedHawks hung on, taking the set 15-11, and the match 3-2.

Gibson and Selph again posted double-doubles. Gibson posted a team-high 22 kills with 17 digs, while Selph added 17 kills and a team-leading 20 digs. Brueggeman sent out 40 assists, and Ybarra notched 14 digs in the heartbreaking loss.

The loss ends the Cougars' season, and the careers of Gibson, Selph, Brueggeman, Ybarra, and Andria Miller.