November 8, 2011

Bobcats outlast Abbey in five-set thriller

Box score

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) posted a triple-double to lead the top-seeded Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team to a hard-fought five-set victory over Belmont Abbey College in the quarterfinal round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament on Tuesday night in Williams Gymnasium.

Lees-McRae (25-8) won the match by scores of 25-23, 30-32, 25-23, 24-26, and 15-12, holding Belmont Abbey (18-15) to a .144 hitting percentage while recording 92 digs and a .174 attacking clip of its own. The Crusaders posted 11 blocks on the night, while Lees-McRae notched 10 stuffs.

Mitchell paced the Bobcats with 48 assists, 16 digs, and 11 kills to notch her first triple-double of the season. Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) and Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) each chipped in a double-double, as Epperson posted a match-high 18 kills and 14 digs while Clendenin notched 14 smashes and dug out 13 Crusader attacks. Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas) also chipped in 11 kills and a team-high five blocks, as Sariah Suryadevara (Cincinnati, Ohio) added a match-high 23 digs and four aces.

Angela Jubb paced Belmont Abbey with a double-double, recording 17 kills and 11 digs. Lydia Schellenberg added a double-double with 10 kills and a team-high 22 digs, while Kay Schellenberg chipped in a double-double with 45 assists and 10 digs. Bria James recorded 11 digs and eight kills, as Stefanie Holler added eight smashes of her own.

Belmont Abbey jumped out to an early 12-7 lead in the first set before Lees-McRae answered with a 13-8 run, evening the score at 20-20 on an Epperson kill. The Bobcats then closed out the set with a 5-3 run to take a 1-0 lead in the match on an Abbey error.

The Abbey rallied in the second set, snatching a 19-15 lead on a block by Holler and Victoria Hensen before the Bobcats answered with a 9-4 run to push the Crusaders to set point. Belmont Abbey fought off five set points, rallying from a 30-29 deficit with three straight points to even the match on a Bobcat miscue.

Lees-McRae answered in the third set, taking a 14-11 lead on a Suryadevara ace before pushing the margin to 20-15 on back-to-back Abbey miscues. Belmont Abbey responded with a 7-1 run, taking a 22-21 lead on a Holler smash before the Bobcats countered with a 4-1 spurt to close out the set on a block by Epperson and Jessica Singewald (Port St. Lucie, Fla.).

The Abbey responded once again in the fourth set, hanging with the Bobcats throughout the frame before fighting off set point with three straight markers to force a fifth and deciding set on a kill by Remick Tiller.

After the Bobcats opened the set with a 6-3 run, Belmont Abbey countered with a 6-0 run to take a 9-6 lead on back-to-back kills by Jubb. The Bobcats responded with a 6-2 run, taking a 12-11 lead on an Abbey miscue. Lees-McRae then closed out the set with a 3-1 run, taking the match on three straight kills by Fox, Mitchell and Epperson.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Friday when the Bobcats host King College in the semifinal round of the conference tournament at 6:30 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -