ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Tiffin volleyball took down Malone in five sets to finish up play at the Eckerd Classic in their season opening tournament on Saturday.
The Dragons (2-2) also squared off with #22 Central Oklahoma earlier in the day, and were able to steal a set against the nationally-ranked Bronchos but fell 3-1.
Central Oklahoma's hitting efficiency was hard to overcome in that first match, as they hit over .300 as a team in three of the four sets. The one set they did not, the third, was the one that Tiffin handled with ease as the Dragons took it 25-16.
In that third frame, with the score even at six apiece, TU rattled off six-straight points and eight of the next nine to take a 14-7 advantage. Tiffin was able to keep that margin up throughout the rest of the set, with Jenna Huffman putting on the finishing touches with a kill.
Down 23-17 in the fourth set, the Dragons made a valiant comeback attempt, scoring eight of the next nine points to knot the score at 24. UCO was able to tally the next two points, however, and take the set and the match.
Jenna Huffman finished with 23 kills and 16 digs, while Loryn Huffman pitched in 48 assists and 21 digs. Sam Fallis tallied three aces and 14 digs, and Kyndall Hellyer and Zion Richardson each added 12 kills.
In the nightcap, the Dragons were able to take a thrilling first set 27-25 before rolling to a 25-21 set two win to go up 2-0.
Malone battled back, taking sets three and four by scores of 25-18 and 25-19, forcing a fifth and final set.
Tiffin was able to regroup, though, holding off the Pioneer comeback with a 15-9 victory in the final frame to take the match 3-2.
The Dragons now have a week before travelling to their next early season tournament, as they visit Louisville, Ky. next weekend for the Bellarmine Invitational on Sept. 13 and 14.