BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) posted her second straight double-double, notching match-highs of 13 kills and 12 digs, to pace the Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team to a three-set sweep of visiting Lander University on Saturday afternoon in Williams Gymnasium.
Lees-McRae (17-7) won the match in straight sets by scores of 26-24, 25-18, and 25-13, while holding Lander (9-12) to a .027 hitting percentage on the day. The Lady Bobcats posted a .237 hitting percentage of their own, while notching 52 digs and five blocks en route to their 14th win in their last 15 matches.
Epperson led the way for Lees-McRae, posting the match-high in kills for the second day in a row, while Whitney Justice (Connelly Springs, N.C.) notched 11 kills and a scorching .455 hitting percentage. Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) tallied a match-high 36 assists, as Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas) and Taylor Stice (Franklin, Tenn.) tallied 11 and nine digs, respectively. Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) chipped in with eight kills and eight digs.
Melissa McCracken (Washington, Ill.) paced the Bearcats with six kills, while Courtney Simmons (Branchville, S.C.) and Magi Nottingham (Indianapolis, Ind.) each tallied five kills. McCracken and Nottingham also led the way for Lander with seven and six digs, respectively, as Madison Kubal (Dacula, Ga.) chipped in six digs of her own.
Lander jumped out to an early lead in the first set, opening the frame with a 9-5 run and extending the margin to 12-7 on a block by Jordan Rix (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Hannah Dederick (Lugoff, S.C.). The Lady Bobcats would battle back, launching a 9-3 spurt to take a 16-15 lead before Justice pushed the margin to 21-18 with an emphatic kill.
Lander fought back later in the set, reeling off three straight points while facing a 24-21 deficit to even the score at 24-24. Lees-McRae then closed out the frame with back-to-back points to take a 1-0 lead in the match with a 26-24 first-set win.
The Lady Bobcats would carry the momentum into the second set, surging to an early 6-2 lead on a pair of kills from Fox before stretching the lead to 12-6 with a 6-4 spurt. Lander scored three of the next four points, trimming the margin to 13-10 before Lees-McRae went on a 6-3 spurt of its own to push the advantage to 19-13. The Lady Bobcats would close out the stanza with five of the final seven points to notch a 25-18 second-set win, and take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
Lees-McRae started the third set in much the same way as the second, opening an early 9-2 lead before extending the margin to 12-3 on a pair of Lander errors. The Lady Bobcats would continue to dictate play, launching a 10-5 run to take a 22-8 lead on Epperson's 13th kill of the match. Lander would trim the margin to 23-12 with a 4-1 spurt, before Lees-McRae closed out the set and the match with two of the frame's final three points.
The Lady Bobcats return to the court on Wednesday when they host Belmont Abbey College to resume their Conference Carolinas schedule. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.
- LMC -