Stephens Volleyball Makes History in 3-1 Loss to No. 2 ColumbiaThe Stars picked up their first-ever set victory over the Cougars, winning the first frame 25-23
COLUMBIA, Mo. – (Box Score) Relishing the role as underdog in Monday’s (Sept. 9) crosstown matchup with No. 2 Columbia College (5-1, 1-0 AMC), the Stephens College volleyball team (1-6, 0-1 AMC) made plenty of noise on the road at the Arena of Southwell Complex.
For the first time in program history, the Stars claimed a set from the NAIA volleyball powerhouse (25-23). They also accomplished what just two league opponents (Park and Missouri Baptist) did in 2012: avoid straight sets against the Cougars. Despite Stephens winning the first set, second-ranked Columbia erased the 1-0 deficit to defeat the Stars 23-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-17.
Capitalizing on key Cougar mistakes and kills by freshman Alyssa Beavers and senior Jenna Zmyslony, the Stars developed their biggest lead of the first set at 20-13. Columbia, who entered the contest with a regular-season conference-winning streak of 156 matches, climbed back into the game and knotted it up at 23-23. However, sophomore Madison Reale wanted in on the kill action, scoring the final two points for the Stars.
Playing in their American Midwest Conference (AMC) opener, the two teams traded the lead in the early going of the second frame. The Stars had a chance to secure a second set from the home team, but Columbia roared back with four consecutive points to take the set, 25-23.
The No. 2 team in the nation regained its confidence and overpowered the Stars in the third and fourth sets to claim its 157th straight regular-season conference victory.
It was a true team effort by the Stars on Monday as five different players recorded a team-high for the match. Freshman libero Tanya Avington of Stephens College led both teams with 15 digs. Sophomore Madison Reale had a team-high nine kills. Junior setter Samantha Phegley led the Stars with 16 assists, while freshmen Alyssa Beavers and Kerri Kircher had a team-high in aces and blocks with three apiece.
Stephens volleyball will continue its lengthy stretch on the road with conference matches at Mid-Continent (Ky.) and Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) on Thursday (Sept. 12) and Friday (Sept. 13), repsectively.