Lady Bobcats win 10th straight, rally past Limestone, 3-1

Box score

GAFFNEY, S.C. --- Senior Whitney Justice (Connelly Springs, N.C.) tallied a match-high 16 kills to lead the Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team to a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Limestone College on Friday night in Conference Carolinas play.

Lees-McRae (13-6, 11-0 CC) ran its winning streak to 10 matches, extending the victorious stretch by scores of 23-25, 26-24, 25-19, and 25-19 against the Saints (4-13, 2-7 CC). The Lady Bobcats posted a .220 hitting percentage in the match while holding Limestone to a .078 clip on the attack, as Lees-McRae tallied five blocks on the night.

Justice posted her third straight match with at least 10 kills, recording 16 kills, four errors, and a solid .429 hitting percentage on 28 attempts. Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) joined Justice in double figures with 10 kills, while Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) chipped in seven kills of her own.

Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) recorded 32 assists, as Dana Oliver (Davie, Fla.) tallied a match-high 16 digs. Chloe Casas (Plano, Texas) and Clendenin each tallied 13 digs in the win. Mitchell, Clendenin and Casas each recorded a pair of service aces as well.

Kassi Boedeker (Phoenix, Ariz.) equaled Justice's match-high total of 16 kills to pace the Saints, while Emmaleigh Halweg (Peotone, Ill.) and Brittany Miller (Indianapolis, Ind.) chipped in nine and seven kills, respectively.

Danielle Seibert (Napierville, Ill.) posted a match-high 36 assists for the Saints, while Holli Dawson (Beaufort, S.C.), Rebecca Kerrison (Charleston, S.C.), and Boedeker tallied 14, 13, and 11 digs, respectively. Dawson also notched a match-high five service aces.

Limestone started strong, opening an early 7-4 lead in the first set, before extending the margin to 14-8 as Boedeker knocked in a kill to cap a 6-1 spurt. Lees-McRae would close the gap, cutting the margin to two points on two occasions before Halweg recorded back-to-back kills to stretch the Limestone lead to 20-15.

The Lady Bobcats rallied again, trimming the lead to 23-22 with a 7-3 run before the Saints closed out the set with two of the frame's final three points. Lees-McRae would respond in the second set, opening an early 7-2 lead, and after the Saints rallied to even the score at 11-11, went on a 6-4 spurt to claim a 17-15 advantage on a pair of Limestone attack errors.

Neither team could gain a significant advantage down the stretch in the second set, as the lead flopped back and forth between the two squads on several occasions. The Lady Bobcats then evened the match at 1-1 with a 26-24 second set win, closing out the frame with an Epperson kill and a block by Taylor Stice (Franklin, Tenn.) and Jessica Singewald (Port St. Lucie, Fla.).

Limestone continued to battle in the third set, launching a 5-1 run early in the frame to take a 9-8 lead on a Lees-McRae attack error. The Lady Bobcats responded, surging out to an 18-13 lead on a beautiful dump kill by Mitchell to cap a 10-4 run. The Saints would stay within striking distance but the Lady Bobcats would not be denied, as LMC tallied three of the final five points in the set to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Saints would force the Lady Bobcats into several keys miscues early in the fourth set, evening the score at 9-9 on a kill by Dawson before Lees-McRae answered with a 5-1 run of its own to claim a 14-10 advantage with an emphatic kill from Justice.

Limestone would rally once again, going on a 7-3 run to even the score at 17-17 on back-to-back service aces from Dawson. Lees-McRae responded, launching a 6-0 run with the score tied at 19-19 to cap the comeback on a service ace by Casas.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday, Oct. 16 when the Lady Bobcats host Erskine College in a conference matchup at 11 a.m. The Lady Bobcats will also square off with Tusculum College later in the afternoon, taking on the Pioneers at 3 p.m. Both matches will be played in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -