Maryville College took No. 18 Transylvania University to the wire on Wednesday night, as a late rally lifted the Top-20 squad to a 3-2 victory.
After falling in the opening set, 25-19, the Scots rallied for back-to-back victories by the score of 25-21 and 25-22.
Transylvania would rally for a 25-10 and 15-9 fourth and fifth set for 3-2 final.
The Scots totaled 18 block assists and seven service aces against the Pioneers.
"We had some great plays," Head Coach Kandis Schram said. "It was fun. I think if we'd executed our serves in the first set, I think we could have taken them in three. I think our team learned that we can play with a Top 20 team, and that was important. We have to be able to sustain that level of focus. We got tight in the fourth set, and we couldn't manage the excitement and that emotion. You can't create that in a practice. That only comes with playing teams like that. I am over the moon. That's why I put this team on the schedule – for us to open up conference with that kind of experience under out belt."
MC had 10 total service errors – a trio of those coming in the opening set.
After taking two-straight sets – Maryville holding Transylvania to a sub-.150 hitting percentage in both – the Pioneers rallied for a 19-2 run across the fourth and fifth sets.
MC's two points came off a service error and a Pioneer attach error in the rally.
"To me, it was what we weren't doing," Schram said of the rally. "We were hitting too many balls. Our first contact balls were not finding the court. Then, because we were hitting so many long and wide, we started to tip and roll. You can't do that to a team like that."
The Scots' second- and third-set rallies came alive with a .211 kill percentage in the second set. Maggie Mathews had five kills and four digs in the set, as Maryville totaled five blocks in the run. Natalie Watts posted a pair of service aces in the second set to spur the Scots.
In the third set, it was a committee effort. Mathews again came in strong with four kills and three digs, while Meredith Bonee added three kills, five digs and a pair of aces. Watts had five digs and an ace, while Dejane Hester-Taylor added three kills and a dig. Arin Wyttenbach had two kills, as Brianne Sidner added four digs and a kill.
Ellie Stigger and Joie Porter came alive for the Pioneers in the fourth and fifth sets, as Stigger led the way with seven kills and a pair of blocks. Porter had six kills and two digs, while Hannah Talkers posted nine digs and a block at the setter position.
Maryville (8-6) was led by Mathews who had a double-double with a team-high 15 kills and 11 digs. She added a pair of block assists, an assist and an ace.
Bonee added double-double, as well, of 21 assists, 10 digs and eight kills. She also added four block assists and three aces in the five-set match.
Hester-Taylor had seven kills and five block assists, while Wyttenbach had six kills and four block assists. Saidee McDaniel had 21 assists and nine digs, while Watts led the defense with 18 digs, three assists and three aces.
Sidner had 15 digs and nine kills with a trio of block assists, as 11 different Scots were in the stat column.
Transylvania (13-2) was paced by Stigger's 19-kill effort, as she added six total blocks. Jordan Horne added 14 kills, five digs, three block assists and an assist, while Talkers had a double-double of 41 assists and 21 digs. Sylvie Miller had 19 digs, while Kori Rudolph added 10.
Maryville College will have a couple days off, before the Scots open USA South Athletic Conference play on the road. The Scots travel to Lookout Mountain, Ga., to face Agnes Scott College and Covenant College.
First serve against the Scotties is set for noon, before the Battle of the Scots will get under way at 4:00 p.m.