Photo Courtesy of Gerry Wall
BANNER ELK, N.C. – After dropping the first set to Converse 25-22, the Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team rallied to win the next three sets (25-15, 25-17, 25-16) to pick up its fourth straight victory, 3-1, Friday night at Williams Gymnasium. With the win, the Bobcats improved to 7-16 overall and 3-5 within league play.
Set 1 – In the most competitive set of Friday's match, the Valkyries and Bobcats both put together comparable offensive performances. Converse hit a match-high .243 with 16 kills on 37 attacks. The Bobcats, meanwhile, hit .225 with 14 kills on 40 attacks. That slight difference in attack percentage proved to be enough for the Valkyries to come out on top in the opening stanza, 25-22.
Set 2 – Being down 1-0 in the match, the Bobcats turned to effort defensively to turn the tide of the contest. In the second set alone, Lees-McRae totaled 32 digs with three players totaling seven or more in the frame. The impressive defensive effort by LMC kept Converse out of striking distance for most of the set, and Lees-McRae ended up winning the frame, 25-15.
Set 3 – Riding the momentum it gained in the second, Lees-McRae put together another solid performance in the third. This time, however, the Bobcats hit a match-best .308 with 15 kills on 39 attacks on their way to downing Converse, 25-17.
Set 4 – The Bobcats would finish off Converse in the fourth set, 25-16. LMC struck early and often in the fourth frame in the match-clinching victory as it scored not only the first three points in the fourth but also 15 of the first 21. Converse did make a late charge to get the Bobcat lead down to seven, but LMC picked up back-to-back kills from Lexi Zangari and Logan Slusher to close out the match.
Stat Standouts – LMC had several standout statistical performers in the four-set win Friday. Caitlyn Smirne (10 kills, 15 digs) and Kaci Thornton (12 kills, 18 digs) both notched double-doubles, while Slusher (14 kills, one block) and Zangari (nine kills, 2.5 blocks) both finished the night scoring in double figures. Setting up LMC's offense was Megan Gallion who finished with 43 assists (10.75 a/s) to go along with eight digs. Defensively, Allie Cunningham paced the Bobcats finishing with 19 digs in the victory.
Next Up – Lees-McRae will be back in action Saturday afternoon when it hosts Limestone at 2 p.m. The match will serve as Senior Day for the team's lone senior this season, Kaci Thornton.