WINGATE, N.C. - After winning the first two sets, the Lees-McRae College Lady Bobcats fell to the Flagler College Lady Saints, 3-2 (25-27, 26-28, 25-22, 25-18, 15-11) Friday afternoon in the first round of the 2009 Women's Volleyball NCAA Tournament Southeast Regional hosted by Wingate University.
In the first set, the Saints jumped out to a 12-7 lead and quickly pushed it to 15-8, but a kill from Whitney Justice started the Lees-McRae offense. The Lady Bobcats went on a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 19-17 on a kill by Megan Epperson. Trailing 24-22, Lees-McRae used a service error and an Epperson kill to knot the match at 24. With the set tied at 25, back-to-back kills by Justine Congdon and Taylor Clendenin gave the Lady Bobcats the 27-25 set one win.
Set two begin with Flagler taking a quick 7-4 lead before the Lady Bobcats rallied to take a 10-8 lead on Clendenin kill. Flagler would take off of on a 9-2 run to take a 17-12 lead, but the Lady Bobcats would rally. Back-to-back Justice kills would cut the lead to 17-14 sending Lees-McRae on a 7-4 run and tie the match at 21. Lees-McRae would take the lead on Clendenin kill and to make it 22-21. Flagler would tie the match at 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 but the Lady Bobcats pulled out the win on two Flagler attack errors, 28-26.
In set three, Lees-McRae took off to a 7-4 lead, but Flagler reeled the Lady Bobcats back in and tied the match at ten and went on the win the set 25-22 not relinquishing the lead.
Lees-McRae took an early 5-1 set four lead, but Flagler would rally and go on a 9-5 run to take a 14-9 lead. The Lady Saints finished the set on an 11-4 run to win the fourth set, 25-18, and tie the match at two.
The fifth and final set saw Flagler take control with a 6-1 lead, but Lees-McRae would rally and cut the lead to 11-9. The Lady Bobcats couldn't get any closer as Flagler completed the comeback and won 15-11.
Katie-Marie Legg had a career-high 17 kills in her final match as a Lady Bobcats. Her 17 kills came on 36 attempts with only two errors for a .417 hitting percentage. Justice followed with 16 kills and a .333 hitting percentage, and Clendenin had 12 kills to complete the Lady Bobcats in double figures. Luana Rocha had a match-high 23 digs, and Megan Mitchell passed out 47 assists. Epperson paced the Lady Bobcats with three service aces.
With the loss, Lees-McRae ends their season at 29-6 overall.
"We knew it was going to be a battle going in and we battled," head coach Jamie Petrik said. "I thought we played like champions, but Flagler was able to pull it out in the end. I am proud of our three seniors, Legg ended with a career-high, and Trisha and Lauren were great leaders at the end of the season for us. I wish them the best as they move forward."