ATLANTA, Ga. – Whitworth University split matches on the opening day of the Emory University National Tournament on Friday. The Pirates fell to 25th-ranked Berry College in three sets in the first match, but defeated Transylvania University 3-1 in the nightcap.
The Berry College Vikings (3-1), a final 16 qualifier in the NCAA Div. III tournament last fall, were too powerful for the Bucs in the opener. Berry hit .364 as a team, highest by a Pirate opponent this season, in a 25-16, 25-11, 25-15 victory. Five different Vikings had at least five kills, and none had more than seven in the evenly-distributed attack. Budde led Whitworth with eight kills and only one error in 14 attempts for a .500 hitting percentage. Schmautz added six kills.
The Pirates dropped the opening set to Transylvania, but rallied to win 23-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-20. Schmautz led Whitworth with 12 kills and added 15 digs. Budde and Emiko Kahler had 10 kills each while Erin White dished 39 assists. Madison Douglas was a force in the middle with two solo blocks and seven block assists.
The match may have been determined in the fifth set. Whitworth led 22-17 after Addy Woolery's service ace. But the Pioneers rallied to tie the match 24-24. The teams traded points before a Transy attack error and Schmautz's kill ended the set in the Pirates' favor. The fourth set was deadlocked 20-20 before Whitworth scored the final five points to claim the win.