Bobcats sweep past King into conference championship

Box score

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Freshman Kallai Johnston (Statesville, N.C.) tallied seven kills and a match-high four blocks to pace the Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team to a straight-set sweep of King College in the semifinal round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament on Friday evening in Williams Gymnasium.

Lees-McRae (26-8) won the match by scores of 25-15, 25-12, and 25-12, holding King (23-13) to a -.013 hitting percentage while posting a .351 attacking clip of its own. The Bobcats also recorded seven blocks on the night while notching 13 service aces.

Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) and Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) paced the Bobcat attack with nine and eight kills, respectively, while Johnston chipped in seven kills. Epperson also posted a .500 hitting percentage and nine digs, while Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) chipped in match-highs of 26 assists and five service aces. Sariah Suryadevara (Cincinnati, Ohio) also added a match-high 11 digs, as Johnston and Jessica Singewald (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) each posted a contest-best four blocks.

Sarah Van Goethem posted a match-high 11 kills for King, as Shannon Earwood chipped in 15 assists and two service aces. Earwood also paced the Tornado with six digs, while Payton Tipton dug out five Bobcat attacks.

The first set remained a tightly contested affair until the Bobcats began to find their rhythm with a 10-4 run, taking a 20-11 lead on an Epperson ace following back-to-back kills from Clendenin. After the Tornado tallied a trio of quick points to trim the margin to 20-14, the Bobcats shut the door on the set with a 5-1 spurt to take a 1-0 lead in the match on an ace by Taylor Pritchett (Apex, N.C.).

Lees-McRae carried the momentum into the second set, opening the frame with a 7-1 run before pushing the margin to 20-8 following a Mitchell ace to cap a 6-0 spurt. The Bobcats then closed out the set with a 5-4 spurt to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match on a Tornado miscue.

King responded early in the third set, taking a narrow 5-4 advantage before the Bobcats responded with an 11-4 run to claim a 15-9 lead on a Tornado miscue. The Bobcats took control from there, closing out the set and the match with a 10-3 run to wrap up the victory on a kill by Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas).

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Sunday when the Bobcats host Queens University of Charlotte in the championship match of the Conference Carolinas Tournament at 2 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -