Tornados win five-set thriller, qualify for SAC Tournament

Osby blocks last attempt in Tornados victory

Box Score

Mars Hill, N.C. - The Tornados and Lions battled it out on Friday night in Burt Stanford Arena for the right to go to the 2009 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament. Brevard dropped the first two games, but rallied to win the next three to attain the last berth in the tournament, 20-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-21, 15-11.

With the win, it makes it two years in a row that Brevard (14-14, 3-13 SAC) has come from behind to win in five sets and qualify for the SAC tournament, having done it last season against Tusculum College on November 5th.

Chelsea Larsen led the Tornados with 14 kills in the contest and achieved the double-double with 18 digs. Brooke Seaman added 13 kills to the attack and had a huge game at the net with eight blocks.

Rebecca Schoonover led the Tornados on defense with 37 digs, while Osby had nine blocks on the evening, including the game-winner in the fifth set.

Mars Hill (11-16, 2-14 SAC) was led by Evie Tafunai, Danielle Mason and Laura Ann Huskey who each had 10 kills, while Tafunai led the team with 25 digs.

The Lions took the lead in the first set, going up 15-13, forcing a Brevard timeout as Mehgen Flynn and Traci Teague each had three kills early to help the Mars Hill cause.

The Tornados came back, cutting the lead to within one at 19-18 on Larsen’s fourth kill of the set, but Huskey came back with a pair of service aces to increase the lead back to 24-18.

Brevard recorded points from Osby and a service ace by Cori Emory to cut the lead back to 24-20, but a service error ended the first set in favor of Mars Hill.

Seaman had three kills in the early going in the second set as the Tornados clung to the slim 11-10 lead after a kill by Morrison, but the Lions came back using a 3-0 run to go up 15-13 capped by a kill by Teague.

Mars Hill threatened to pull away several times in the set, but kills by Larsen, Seaman, Osby and Atkinson kept the game within one at 21-20.

The Lions were able to close out the set as Tafunai put away the Sarah Paquette assists to give the hosts the 2-0 advantage.

The Tornados used a 4-0 run early in the third set to take the 4-2 lead as Seaman and Trojan had kills and Stevenson added a service ace.

The lead improved to 13-9 on Caroline Merrill’s serve as the sophomore defensive specialist placed a service ace on the back line and two Mars Hill attack errors helped the Tornados build their lead and a pair of Trojan kills put the lead back at four at 17-13 later in the set.

Trojan continued to have the hot hand as she moved back to serve as the Tornados built a 22-15 lead as the senior outside hitter placed in an ace and a kill during the run.

Larsen closed out the set with an attack from the left side, landing just inside the line on the right to push the game to the fourth set, 25-18.

Brevard rode the momentum into the fourth set as the Tornados took a 6-0 lead as Stevenson placed in the first kill and Seaman combined with Atkinson and Trojan on a pair of blocks. A service ace by Stevenson led to a Mars Hill timeout.

Out of the timeout, kills by Atkinson and Trojan and a pair of aces by Stevenson increased the lead to 10-0.

A service error ended the Tornados run, and Mars Hill responded with a run of their own, cutting the lead back to four at 11-7 as a trio of blocks and a service ace by Flora brought the Lions back into the game.

Mars Hill brought the game the whole way back at 19 as Larsen’s attack went into the net. The Lions took the next point on a block error but the Tornados scored the final six points as Larsen sent the game into the fifth set.

The Lions led at the crossover at 8-7, but the Tornados responded, scoring the next three points as a kill by Seaman and errors by Huskey and Teague put Brevard up 10-8.

The Tornados got the game to match point after Osby’s kill at 14-11, and Osby’s solo block on Tafunai’s attempt clinched the match and the last tournament berth for Brevard.

Brevard finishes up the regular season tomorrow afternoon as the Tornados host Columbia (S.C.) College. The Tornados will also recognize their five seniors: Cori Emory, Megan Street, Brooke Seaman, Christin Johnston and Chelsey Trojan, after the game. First serve between the Tornados and Fighting Koalas is set for 2 p.m.

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