Cumberland seniors Meghan and Mackenzie Gass each posted strong performances Friday night to lead the Bulldogs to an important Mid-South Conference victory over the University of Pikeville on Senior Night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
Meghan recorded a team-high 19 assists in the 3-0 victory while her sister, Mackenzie, notched 13 kills to go with an impressive .550 attack percentage. It was a tumultuous opening set for the Bulldogs, who found themselves trailing 11-5 in the early going. Following a pair of timeouts, CU roared back with six straight points in the latter part of the set to take its first lead at 22-21.
Holding a 24-22 advantage, Cumberland surrendered back-to-back points to knot the contest at 24. Following an attack error from the Bears, Abby Shaw blasted her seventh kill of the set off an assist from Meghan Gass to put the opening frame away.
The Bulldogs came out more focused in the second set as Pikeville was determined to keep things close. Tied at 10, a pair of kills from Mackenzie Gass paced a 9-5 run from CU to take control at 19-15.
After trading points to a 23-18 advantage for Cumberland, Gass and Jennifer Daniels each pounded down kills to put the set away. Mackenzie led the Bulldogs in kills during the set with five on seven attempts for a .714 attack percentage in the frame.
Cumberland switched to a much higher gear in the third and final set, coasting to a 25-14 advantage. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 14-8 lead in the set, including five kills from Mackenzie Gass along with six from Shaw. Shaw would put down the final kill of the evening off a set from McCrea Barney to end the night with a victory.
CU wore pink uniforms in the contest as the squad raised money for the Side Out Foundation to aid breast cancer research.
The win marked the first for Cumberland in its last nine tries, putting an end to an eight-game losing streak. It also put the Bulldogs in control of their own destiny in qualifying for the MSC Championships.
The Bulldogs will square off against Bluefield on Saturday at 11 a.m. with a chance to solidify its position in the conference tournament. The game will also mark the final appearance of the season for CU at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.