The Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team survived a strong rally by University of North Carolina-Pembroke to beat the Braves in five sets, and swept Winston-Salem State University, 3-0, to register its first two wins of the season
and close out the Wingate University Classic with a 2-1 record on Saturday afternoon. Lees-McRae (2-1) defeated UNC Pembroke (1-1) in by scores of 25-20, 25-21, 15-25, 20-25, and 15-7, and swept Winston-Salem (0-3), 25-15, 25-21, and 25-15. The Bobcats posted a combined .145 hitting percentage in the two matches, including a .171 clip against Winston-Salem, while recording 21 blocks and 87 digs.
Freshmen Rachel Grether (Ocala, Fla.) and Jordan Banta (Virginia Beach, Va.) each posted 22 kills on the day, while sophomore Taylor Pritchett (Apex, N.C.) recorded 59 assists, 12 digs, and seven service aces. Sariah Suryadevara (Cincinnati, Ohio) notched 32 digs on the day, as Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) and Haydn Beatty (Norma, Okla.) each tallied 10 kills.
Beatty added 11 blocks, all assists, as Banta and Grether chipped in eight (one solo, seven assists) and six (six assists), respectively. For their superb play in the Bobcats' three matches this weekend, Beatty and Pritchett were named the Wingate Classic's all-Tournament team.
Match One: Lees-McRae 3, UNC Pembroke 2
The Bobcats got off to a strong start in the first set, taking an early 14-7 lead following a Pritchett service ace. After Pembroke responded with an 8-5 spurt to trim the margin to 19-15 and later cut the lead to 23-20 on a Shay Peterson kill, Lees-McRae closed out the set with a Beatty smash and a block by Grether and Beatty to take the first set, 25-20.
Lees-McRae carried the momentum into the second set, opening the frame with a 16-9 run that was capped by a block from Grether and Beatty. Pemrboke would answer with a 7-2 spurt, closing the gap to 18-16 following a Bobcat miscue before Lees-McRae responded, closing out the set and taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the match on a Grether kill to cap a 5-3 run.
Pembroke began to rally in the third, erasing an early 8-4 deficit with a 10-1 run to take a 14-9 advantage on a solo block from Peterson. After Lees-McRae trimmed the margin to 15-11 on kills by Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) and Clendenin, Pembroke answered with a 10-4 spurt to close out the set and force a fourth frame.
The fourth set proved to be a tightly contested affair, with neither team claiming more than a four-point advantage throughout the frame. The teams battled to a 13-13 tie midway through the set before Pembroke made a 4-0 run, taking a 17-13 advantage on a kill by Ashlyn Rebok before Lees-McRae responded, trimming the margin to 17-16 following a service ace by Grether. Pembroke countered with an 8-4 run, closing out the set on a kill by Sawyer Gray to even the match at 2-2 and force a decisive fifth frame.
Lees-McRae answered the call in the fifth, taking an early 6-2 lead following a smash by Banta before stretching the margin to 12-5 on a block by Beatty and Clendenin. The Bobcats then closed out the set with a 3-1 spurt, taking the match on a Pritchett kill followed by a block from Clendenin and Angela Morse (Clinton Township, Mich.).
Match Two: Lees-McRae 3, Winston-Salem 0
The Bobcats jumped out to an early 15-6 advantage in the first set, capping a 6-0 run on back-to-back miscues by the Rams. After Lees-McRae pushed the lead to 19-8 on a service ace by Kallai Johnston (Statesville, N.C.), Winston-Salem began to rally with a 5-0 spurt, closing the gap to 19-13 with a block by Francesca Edgerton and De Ann Smith. The Bobcats would answer with a 6-2 run, capping the set on a Suryadevara.
Winston-Salem battled back in the second set, taking an early 7-4 lead before the Bobcats responded with a 9-4 run to claim a narrow 13-11advantage on a miscue by the Rams. After the Rams countered with a 3-0 spurt, Lees-McRae went on a 4-0 run to reclaim the lead at 17-14 following a Pritchett service ace.
The Rams responded with a 6-2 spurt of its own to take a slim 20-19 advantage on a kill by Avoni Seymour before the Bobcats regained control, closing out the set with a 6-1 run to claim a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
The Bobcats carried the momentum into the third set, opening the frame with an 11-4 run that was capped by a Grether service ace. After Winston-Salem trimmed the margin to 12-8 with a 4-1 spurt, the Bobcats responded with a 7-4 run to take a 19-12 advantage following back-to-back kills by Banta, Beatty and Grether. Lees-McRae then closed out the set and the match with a 6-3 spurt, capping the frame with a Pritchett kill.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Friday, September 7 when the Bobcats travel to Jefferson City, Tenn. to take on Lincoln Memorial University on the first day of the Carson-Newman Tournament, hosted by Carson-Newman College.