Valkyries hold off Bobcats in league play

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Converse College women's volleyball team combined for seven blocks and a .275 hitting percentage en route to a straight-set sweep of Lees-McRae College in Conference Carolinas play on Wednesday evening in Williams Gymnasium.

Converse (4-14, 4-3 CC) won the match by scores of 25-19, 25-16, and 25-21, limiting Lees-McRae (2-18, 0-7 CC) to 23 kills and 30 digs while posting 28 smashes of its own.

Jordan Banta (Virginia Beach, Va.) paced the Bobcats with seven kills and a .278 clip on the attack, as Haydn Beatty (Norman, Okla.) added six smashes. Angela Morse (Clinton Township, Mich.) tallied a match-high four aces, while she and Molly Corhn (Hendersonville, N.C.) each posted six digs. Candace Niemiec (Huntington Beach, Calif.) chipped in a match-high 21 assists to go along with five digs and two aces to celebrate her birthday.

Ashley Biggs and Katie Butler led the way for Converse with eight and seven kills, respectively, as Scottie Kay Auton added four smashes and no errors on nine attempts. Biggs chipped in a match-high nine digs, while Auton posted a contest-best seven blocks (one solo, six assists). Kandace Griffin and Jenna Martin posted 11 and 10 assists, respectively.

The Valkyries got off to a strong start in the first set, opening an early 11-5 lead before pushing the advantage to 18-11 after a smash from Auton. The Bobcats would battle back with a 5-0 spurt, closing the gap to 18-16 following a Morse ace. Converse countered with a 7-3 run, capping the set with an ace by Griffin to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

Lees-McRae responded with an early push in the second, claiming a 4-2 advantage on a Banta smash before the Valkyries answered with a 12-4 run, taking a 14-8 lead following a block by Auton and Samantha Haynes. Converse would keep the pressure on over the next several minutes, pushing the margin to 22-13 before closing out the frame on a Bobcat miscue.

The Bobcats answered once again in the early moments of the third set, opening the frame with a 7-4 run before Converse countered with a 9-2 surge, claiming a 13-9 advantage following a block from Biggs and Auton. The Valkyries would push the margin to 18-10 before the Bobcats responded, launching an 11-5 run to close the gap to 23-21 with an ace by Corhn. Converse quelled the rally with back-to-back points, capping the set and the match following a kill from Butler.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Friday when the Bobcats host King University in league play at 7 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -