Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) posted a double-double with a match-high 17 kills and 11 digs to become the program's all-time leader in kills, leading the Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team to a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Augusta State University on Friday evening at the Lander University Crossover Tournament.
Lees-McRae (20-6) extended its winning streak to 17 matches, posting a .151 hitting percentage while recording 79 digs and seven blocks. The Bobcats held Augusta State (12-14) to a .090 hitting percentage, as the Jaguars recorded 12 blocks and 71 digs.
Epperson became the program's all-time kill leader with her 1,355th career smash, surpassing Whitney Justice's previous mark of 1,347 kills. Junior setter Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) nearly recorded a triple-double with 37 assists, 11 digs, and nine kills, becoming the first player in program history to surpass the 3,000-assist plateau. Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) also tallied a double-double with 11 kills and 16 digs, as Sariah Suryadevara (Cincinnati, Ohio) dug out a match-high 26 Jaguar attacks.
Alex Rohlfing paced the Jaguars with a match-high 17 kills while posting a .292 hitting percentage. Krystin Wahlig added a double-double with 24 assists and 18 digs, while Collette Richards dug out a team-high 21 Bobcat attacks. Lauren Alverson also chipped in 12 digs for Augusta State.
The Bobcats rallied from an 11-8 deficit in the first set, launching an 11-6 run to take a 19-17 lead on back-to-back kills by Epperson. Augusta responded with a 4-2 spurt, evening the tally at 21-21 before the Bobcats answered with a 4-1 run to close out the 25-22 first-set win on an emphatic kill by Clendenin.
Augusta State answered in the second set, taking an early 10-4 lead on a block by Rohlfing and Jessica Hansen. The Jaguars would stretch the lead to 15-8 before the Bobcats responded; cutting the margin to 18-14 with a 6-3 spurt that was capped by a solo block from Kallai Johnston. Augusta State answered with a 6-2 run, claiming a 24-16 lead on a Bobcat miscue before closing out the frame on an LMC attacking error.
The Bobcats battled back in the third frame, taking an early 13-8 lead on a Mitchell service ace. Lees-McRae would push the margin to 20-14 on a block by Epperson and Jessica Singewald (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) before closing out the set on a Jaguar miscue to take a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-19 third-frame win.
Lees-McRae rallied from an early 6-1 deficit in the fourth set, taking a 13-12 lead on back-to-back blocks by Epperson and Singewald. The Bobcats would push the margin to 22-18 on a Jaguar miscue and after Augusta State answered with a quick 2-1 spurt, closed out the set and the match on an Epperson kill and a Jaguar miscue.
The Bobcats return to the court later Friday evening when they take on No. 16 and undefeated Armstrong Atlantic State University at 7 p.m. in the PEES Complex on the Lander campus.
No. 16 Pirates squeak by Bobcats in four-set thriller
The No. 16 Armstrong Atlantic State University women's volleyball team rallied from a second-set deficit and a 1-0 disadvantage in the match to defeat Lees-McRae College, 3-1, in a high-energy battle of NCAA Division II Southeast Region opponents on Friday night at Lander University's Crossover Tournament.
Armstrong Atlantic (26-0) won the match by scores of 23-25, 25-23, 25-17, and 25-19 to keep its record unblemished, while snapping Lees-McRae's (20-7) 17-match winning streak. The Pirates posted a .215 hitting percentage and eight blocks on the night, while holding the Bobcats to a .180 clip on the attack.
Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) continued her strong play with a match-high 19 kills, recording her second straight double-double with 11 digs. Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) chipped in a double-double of her own with 15 kills and 10 digs, attacking at a .302 clip while posting a team-high three service aces.
Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) added 42 assists, seven digs, and three aces, while Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas) chipped in a team-high four blocks. Sariah Suryadevara (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Taylor Pritchett (Apex, N.C.) also added 15 and 10 digs, respectively.
Jessica Santaniello paced the Pirates with 16 kills, as Brendyce Budd and Brittany Wolf added 13 and 12 smashes, respectively. Budd and Santaniello each posted a double-double with 19 and 13 digs, respectively, as Ashley Seal posted match-highs of 46 assists and four service aces while adding 10 digs for a double-double of her own. Wolf added a match-high six blocks, as Casey Howett and Stacey Davis each posted 13 digs.
Armstrong got off to a strong start in the first set, taking an early 9-3 lead on a Santaniello before the Bobcats responded with an 8-2 run to even the tally at 11-11 on back-to-back aces from Clendenin. After the Pirates answered with a 9-4 spurt to take a 20-15 lead on a pair of kills by Santaniello, the Bobcats stormed back with a 7-1 surge to claim a 22-21 advantage following an emphatic smash from Fox. The Pirates would pull even twice in the next three points before the Bobcats shut the door, completing the rally on an Epperson kill and an Armstrong hitting error to take the first set by a 25-23 margin.
The second set proved to be an emotionally charged and tightly contested affair, with the teams battling and scraping for every point throughout the frame. Lees-McRae jumped out to an early 4-1 lead on back-to-back aces from Mitchell before Armstrong responded, countering with an 11-7 run to claim a narrow 12-11 lead on a kill by Wolf. The Bobcats answered with a 4-1 spurt, retaking the lead at 15-13 on a block by Clendenin and Fox.
Armstrong countered with a 4-0 run to claim a 17-15 advantage before Lees-McRae responded with a 3-1 spurt to even the tally at 18-18 on an emphatic kill from Clendenin. The Bobcats would open a 21-19 lead on an Epperson kill and a pair of blocks from Mitchell and Jessica Singewald (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) before Armstrong answered with a 5-1 run, taking a 24-22 advantage before closing out the set on a Santaniello kill to even the match at 1-1.
The Bobcats reasserted themselves in the opening moments of the third set, taking an early 13-7 lead on a Clendenin service ace before the Pirates responded with a 10-0 run that proved to be a turning point in the match, as Armstrong opened a 17-13 margin on an ace from Seal. Lees-McRae closed the gap to 17-15 with a quick 2-0 spurt before Armstrong regained control, shutting the door on the frame with an 8-2 run to take a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-17 third-set win.
Lees-McRae showed tremendous toughness in the fourth set, rebounding from an early 6-2 deficit and battling back to even the score at 15-15 following a pair of Clendenin smashes and a Pirate miscue. Armstrong countered with a 5-1 run to take a 20-16 lead on a kill by Wolf and force a Bobcat timeout. The Bobcats would trim the margin to 21-18 on a kill by Epperson before the Pirates shut the door, closing out the set and the match with a 4-1 run that included a trio of kills from Wolf.
The Bobcats return to the court on Saturday when they take on USC Aiken at 2 p.m. on the final day of the Lander Crossover Tournament in Horne Area.
Bobcats finish fourth at Conference Carolinas Championships
Emily Shields (Salisbury, N.C.) finished 10th to earn Conference Carolinas Freshman Runner of the Year honors, and lead the Lees-McRae College women's cross country team to a fourth-place performance at the Conference Carolinas Championships on Friday at McAlpine Park.
Host Queens University of Charlotte took home the team title with 19 points, placing each of its six scoring runners in the top 10, as Mount Olive College (69) and King College (80) finished second and third, respectively. Lees-McRae was fourth with 141 points, edging out fifth-place Belmont Abbey College (143). Pfeiffer University finished sixth with 168 points, followed by Barton College (188), Converse College (195), Erskine College (204), Limestone College (223), and Coker College (295).
Emily Shields finished 10th with a time of 18:57.2 to earn a spot on the all-conference second team, while her sister Katherine Shields (Salisbury, N.C.) placed 14th with a mark of 19:27.5 en route to an all-conference third team selection. Audrey Garrett (Weaverville, N.C.) placed 30th with a time of 20:09.5, as Cinthia Lehner (Greer, S.C.) finished 39th with a mark of 20:29.1. Casey Clark (Roanoke, Va.) finished 53rd with a time of 21:21.6, as Rayne Delutis (Christiansburg, Va.) rounded out the scoring runners for the Bobcats with a mark of 23:15.9.
With the fourth-place performance, Lees-McRae qualifies for the NCAA Division II Southeast Region Championships, to be hosted by Queens at McAlpine Park on Saturday, November 5 in Charlotte, N.C.
Lees-McRae finishes seventh at Conference Carolinas Championships
Craig Simpkins (Boiling Springs, S.C.) and Tyler Dunn (Jasper, Ga.) each posted a top-20 finish to lead the Lees-McRae College men's cross country team to a seventh-place performance at the Conference Carolinas Championships on Friday at McAlpine Park.
Host Queens University of Charlotte took the team title with 25 points, securing the top four individual finishes. King College finished second with 53 points, followed by Mount Olive College (66), Erskine College (126), and Belmont Abbey College (169). Limestone College was sixth with 174 points, followed by Lees-McRae (211), Barton College (223), North Greenville University (226), Coker College (229), and Pfeiffer University (264).
Simpkins turned in the top finish for the Bobcats, crossing the line in 16th with a time of 26:14.4 as Dunn followed in 17th with a mark of 26:15.8. Luke Anton (Hendersonville, N.C.) finished 55th with a time of 28:24.7, followed by Trevor Morris (Southern Pines, N.C.) in 63rd with a mark of 28:47.5. Avery Mouton (Sneads Ferry, N.C.) rounded out the scoring runners for the Bobcats in 82nd with a time of 29:53.9.
Lees-McRae is expected to return six runners from this year's squad, including rising seniors Dunn, Connor Gray (Christiansburg, Va.), and Jared Lupton (Nampa, Idaho).