BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Freshmen Avalon Liscio (Naples, Fla.) and Haylee Leonard (Walburg, N.C.) recorded match-highs of 10 kills and eight block assists to lead the Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team on Friday evening, as Pfeiffer University rallied from a 22-17 deficit in the fourth set en route to a 3-1 victory over the Bobcats in Conference Carolinas play.
Pfeiffer (2-7, 1-0 CC) won the match by scores of 25-23, 25-20, 18-25, and 25-23, posting 44 digs, 36 kills and eight blocks. Lees-McRae (1-9, 0-1 CC) tallied 48 digs, 29 kills, and 15 blocks on the night, while also dropping in 14 service aces.
Liscio led the way for Lees-McRae with 10 kills, as Jordan Banta (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Angela Morse (Clinton Township, Mich.) added seven and six smashes, respectively. Hayden Beatty (Norman, Okla.) posted a match-high nine blocks (2 solo, seven assists), while Candace Niemiec (Huntington Beach, California) chipped in a double-double with 11 digs and a match-high 22 assists. Morse and Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas) tallied four and three aces, respectively, as Banta and Liscio both notched nine digs.
Milana Mervosh paced the Falcons with nine kills and eight digs, as Haley Denny tallied a match-high 15 digs. Laura Fortner added seven kills, while Emily Wall and Meghan Davis chipped in 16 and 14 assists, respectively.
The Bobcats got off to a strong start in the first set, taking an early 8-1 lead on an ace from Morse before the Falcons responded with a 12-6 run to cut the margin to 14-13 with a smash by Kelsey Blauser. Pfeiffer continued to dictate play over the next several minutes, taking a 19-17 lead following a dumb by Wall. Lees-McRae would answer with a 5-2 spurt, claiming a 22-21 advantage before the Falcons countered, taking a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-23 first-set win following a Wall kill.
Pfeiffer carried the momentum into the second frame, opening the set with a 10-5 run before the Bobcats answered with a 13-5 surge, claiming a 17-15 lead following a tandem block by Leonard and Morse. The Falcons battled back, countering with a 10-3 run to rally for a 25-20 victory in the set and a 2-0 lead in the match on a block by Briana Jones and Shelby Younger.
The Bobcats fought back from an early deficit in the third set, answering a 6-1 spurt by the Falcons with an 8-2 run of their own, claiming a narrow 9-8 advantage on a trio of aces from Fox. After back-to-back points by Pfeiffer, Lees-McRae continued the push with an 11-3 surge to take a 20-13 lead following a pair of tandem blocks from Leonard and Banta.
Pfeiffer would counter with a 5-0 spurt, closing the gap to 20-18 before the Bobcats responded, claiming the set and halving the match margin to 2-1 on a Falcon miscue.
The fourth set proved to be a tightly contested battle, with Pfeiffer taking a 12-10 lead following a Bobcat miscue on the heels of a 3-0 spurt. Lees-McRae answered with a 12-5 run, claiming a 22-17 advantage with a Banta ace. The Falcons would counter with a 4-1 spurt, closing the gap to 23-21 on a Mervosh smash before extending the run to six straight points, capping the set and the match following an ace from Denny.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday when the Bobcats host Belmont Abbey College in conference play at 12 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.
- LMC -