Lady Bulldogs knock off Emmanuel, 3-1, in home opener

Barton freshman Riley Bane setting the ball to senior Melissa Cochran in the fourth set of Friday's match against Emmanuel. | by Catherine Barber
Barton freshman Riley Bane setting the ball to senior Melissa Cochran in the fourth set of Friday's match against Emmanuel. | by Catherine Barber

by Kevin Buczek

WILSON, N.C.-Barton College served up 12 aces including four apiece by seniors Melissa Cochran and Amanda Grandy en route to a 3-1 Conference Carolinas conquest of visiting Emmanuel (Ga.) College Friday night in the Dog House.

The Lady Bulldogs had a .200 hitting percentage including a match-high 17 kills by Cochran in the 25-17, 25-19, 24-26, 25-19 triumph to kick start a busy Family Weekend in Wilson. Barton improved to 3-7 overall 1-0 in the league.

Freshman Riley Bane tallied her second double-double with 41 assists and 14 digs. Grandy supplied the most digs with 24 saves.

The Lions continue to alternate wins and losses from the start the year and are now 4-5 overall and 0-1 in the conference.

Emmanuel entered the match leading the league in blocks but it was Barton that had the upper hand on the front row defense with 10.5 team blocks compared to just six by the Lions.

Cochran participated in eight of the Bulldogs blocks while sophomore Kaitlyn Micol logged seven block assists.

Cochran – an All-Conference honoree last year – hit .412 for the match knocking down half of her swings (17 kills on 34 attempts). Junior Brittany Edwards ripped a season-high nine spikes; Micol smashed the ball down eight times; and freshman Courtney Wiseman added seven kills.

Sophomore Alex Ward was just behind Cochran and Grandy with three aces of her own.

Barton was clinging to an 11-10 edge in the first set before winning the next seven points on Wiseman's service rotation. The Lady Bulldogs then maintained the eight-point cushion to the end of the set that was capped with a kill by Edwards.

The Lions jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the second stanza but BC quickly turned around the set with a momentum shifting 16-4 rally that was ignited by three consecutive Cochran aces. Cochran's fourth ace of the period was on set point.

Emmanuel once again took a similar 9-3 advantage in the third. However, after Barton rallied again the Lions were able to stick around before winning the extended set. Barton fought back with a 9-1 rally and eventually pulled out to a 20-17 edge on a block by Cochran and Micol. EC won five of the next six points to regain the lead at 22-21. The two squads traded the next five points as the hosts tied the set at 22, 23 and 24 but the Lions snuck out the next two points on two close line calls to force a fourth set.

The visitors won the first point of the final set but it would be the only lead for Emmanuel as Barton quickly doubled up the Lions, 10-5. The Lady Bulldogs stayed out front and eventually clinched the win on a block by Wiseman and Cochran.

Junior Rachel Tolleson led the Conference Carolinas newcomers with 12 kills and 11 digs. Sophomore Erica Burnham chipped in 11 kills.

Barton will continue play during the College's Family Weekend by hosting league foe Erskine College on Saturday at 2 p.m.