Lees-McRae drops pair on first day of Carolinas Challenge

Box score

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae College volleyball team (0-2) opened the season with two losses on Friday as the Lady Bobcats fell to USC Aiken, 3-2, and Wingate, 3-0, in day one of the Lees-McRae Carolinas Challenge.

Game One - USC Aiken 3, Lees McRae 2 (25-21, 20-25, 25-19, 22-25, 15-12)

After falling behind 1-0 after the first set, LMC put together rallies of six and four points to take the second frame and tie the match.

The Lady Bobcats found themselves down 2-1 after the third set, but battled back to force the deciding set, winning the fourth frame 25-22.

In the fifth set, Lees-McRae fell behind 5-1 early. The Lady Bobcats managed to tighten the score to 10-9 after the switch, but that's as close as they would get. USCA reeled off five of the next eight points to seal the victory.

USC Aiken was led by Shannon Byers (Morristown, Minn.), who paced all attackers with 16 kills and added nine digs. Megan Disney (Knoxville, Tenn.) had nine kills and added nine blocks as well. Ashley Farwell (Wake Forest, N.C.) had 23 assists, and Samantha Lukralle (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) led all players with 14 digs.

Lees-McRae had two players to register double-digit kills as Whitney Justice (Connelly Springs, N.C.) posted 15, while Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) had 12 kills and added 14 digs for the contest's only double-double. Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) dished out 40 assists.

Game Two - Wingate 3, Lees-McRae 0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-9)

Wingate got out to a 10-5 lead in the first set and held on as the Lady Bobcats closed to the gap to 19-16, as the Bulldogs went on to take the first frame 25-20.

In the second stanza, Lees-McRae found themselves down 23-12 before reeling off nine straight points, narrowing the margin to 23-21 before Wingate scored the final two points of the set to win 25-21.

Wingate took control of the third set early, and never looked back as they rolled to a 25-9 win to take the match.

The Bulldogs were led by Cory McGowan (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Grace Kauser (Louisville, Ky.) and Stormi Gale (Richmond, Texas) as they tallied eight kills each. Liz Willis (Raleigh, N.C.) had 21 assists while Amanda Clark (Timberlake, N.C.) posted 11 assists and 11 digs for a double-double.

Epperson had nine kills for the Bobcats and Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) posted six of her own to go along with a match-high 17 digs. Mitchell tallied a double-double with 23 assists and 13 digs.

The Lady Bobcats will complete the Lees-McRae Carolinas Challenge on Saturday as they will face Palm Beach Atlantic at 1:00 p.m., before taking on Flagler at 5:30 p.m. in the final match of the tournament.

-LMC -