BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team celebrated Spike Out Cancer Night in style on Wednesday night in Conference Carolinas play, sweeping Belmont Abbey College behind Megan Epperson's (St. John, Ind.) sixth straight double-double.
Lees-McRae (18-7, 14-0 CC) held the Crusaders (16-8, 9-5 CC) to a .072 hitting percentage, while also tallying eight blocks en route to its 27th straight conference victory. The Lady Bobcats won the match by scores of 25-14, 25-23, and 25-21 to trim their magic number to two in their quest for the program's 11th league title in the last 12 seasons.
The Lady Bobcats hosted Spike Out Cancer night in honor of LMC sophomore Meme Brown's (Boonville, N.C.) heroic battle with ovarian cancer. Lees-McRae offered T-shirts for sale to benefit the Outrageous Courageous Kids Foundation, which helps raise money for cancer research. Brown turned in a superb performance, tallying three kills on three swings to go with two blocks and two service aces in just one set.
Epperson paced the Lady Bobcats with 10 kills and 10 digs, while Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) tallied 12 digs and just missed a double-double with nine kills. Whitney Justice (Connelly Springs, N.C.) chipped in eight kills, while Dana Oliver (Davie, Fla.) and Chloe Casas (Plano, Texas) each posted 10 digs. Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) also posted a match-high 30 assists.
Belmont Abbey's Bria James (Statesville, N.C.) paced the Crusaders with a match-high 12 kills and a sterling .400 hitting percentage. Libero Taylor Stern (Greensboro, N.C.) chipped in a match-high 14 digs, while Lydia and Kay Schellenberg (Jacksonville, Fla.) each posted five kills. Kay Schellenberg also tallied 23 assists and eight digs, while Lydia Schellenberg and Remick Tiller (Palm City, Fla.) each chipped in nine digs.
Neither team could gain a significant advantage early in the first set, until the Lady Bobcats went on a 5-0 spurt to take a 13-7 lead on a Belmont Abbey attack error. Lees-McRae would continue to dictate the flow of play, stretching the margin to 20-12 on an Epperson kill to cap a 7-5 run. The Lady Bobcats then closed out the set with a 5-2 run to take an early 1-0 lead in the match.
Belmont Abbey responded in the second set, tallying six of the first nine points to open the frame with a 6-3 lead. The Crusaders would hold the advantage for much of the stanza, stretching the margin to as much as 17-13 before Lees-McRae answered, launching a 7-2 run to take a 20-19 advantage on back-to-back blocks by Epperson and Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas). Lees-McRae would push the margin to 22-20 en route to a 25-23 victory, and a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Crusaders would start strong in the third set as well, opening an early 8-6 lead before Lees-McRae responded with six straight points to take a 12-8 lead on a kill by Justice. Belmont Abbey rallied, going on a 6-2 spurt to even the score at 14-14. Lees-McRae would answer with a 4-0 spurt to kick-start a 6-1 run, reclaiming the lead at 20-15 on a tandem block by Brown and Epperson. The Abby would cut the margin to two at 23-21 on the heels of a 6-3 spurt, before LMC tallied the final two points of the match to push its perfect conference record to 14-0.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday when the Lady Bobcats host Coker College in their final home match of the regular season. The contest is slated to begin at 2 p.m. following the conclusion of LMC's Senior Day festivities.
- LMC -