SPARTANBURG, S.C. --- Whitney Justice (Connelly Springs, N.C.) and Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas) each recorded at least 10 kills to lead the Lees-McRae women's volleyball team to a 3-1 win over Converse College to open Conference Carolinas play on Monday night. Lees-McRae (1-4) defeated the Valkyries (0-3) by scores of 26-24, 17-25, 25-22, and 25-11 to give head coach Wes Schneider his first career victory at the NCAA Division II level.
The Lady Bobcats recorded a season-high 50 kills as four players notched at least eight kills. Justice tallied match-highs with 11 kills and four service aces to pace the Lady Bobcats, while Fox chipped 10 kills of her own. Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) registered a match-high 31 assists for Lees-McRae, while Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) and Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) each tallied 10 digs.
Neither team held more than a three-point lead in the first set as Lees-McRae squeaked out a 26-24 victory in the opening frame. Converse responded in the second set, launching an 8-2 run in the middle of the frame to take an 18-12 lead. Lees-McRae would trim the margin to 21-17 with a 5-3 spurt before the Valkyries closed out the set with a 4-0 run to even the match at 1-1.
The Lady Bobcats would sprint out to a 9-4 lead in the third set, eventually stretching the advantage to 19-10 before Converse went on a 6-3 spurt to cut the margin to 22-16. The Valkyries would refuse to concede the frame, trimming the advantage to 24-22 before Taylor Stice (Franklin, Tenn.) closed out the set with a kill to give Lees-McRae a 2-1 lead in the match.
Converse stayed within striking distance for much of the fourth set, climbing back to within two at 12-10 before the Lady Bobcats responded with a 13-1 run to close out the 25-11 win in the final frame and clinch their first win of the season.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Friday when the Lady Bobcats travel to Colorado Springs, Colo. to take part in the Colorado Springs Tournament, being hosted by the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. The Lady Bobcats will square off against Grand Canyon University at 9 a.m. on Friday before taking on Winona State University at 2 p.m.
- LMC -