GAFFNEY, S.C. – For the third time in as many games the Lady Tornado volleyball team forced their opponent into a fifth game and won in dramatic fashion. This time they added the challenge of coming back from a two-game deficit, winning the final three sets in a come-from-behind 3-2 (23-25, 21-25, 25-13, 28-26, 15-12) victory over the Limestone Saints, Saturday afternoon. Summer Kremer led King (6-5, 2-0) with 19 kills, 12 coming in the last three games alone.
After falling in the first two set where her kill count matched her number of errors, outside hitter Summer Kremer (Mills River, N.C.) turned her game around and went 12-of-27 with only five errors in the final three games to fuel King's comeback victory.
The Lady Tornado jumped all over the Saints in the third game, bursting out to a 12-6 lead early in the contest and behind a strong streak of services, including two aces, from freshman Maribeth Kern (Buchanan, Va.) King built their lead to as large 10 in their 25-13 victory in the third set.
The result of the fourth set tilted the momentum in King's direction where extra point were required to determine if a fifth set would be needed. The battle was tight with the Saints and Lady Tornado deadlocked at 25 before the Saints forced set point. Limestone's Emylee Gotsch left the door open for King when she committed an attack error to tie the game at 26, where Kern once again led King to victory from the service line, leading toward a kill from Grace Underwood (Pearland, Texas) and her fourth service ace of the afternoon to achieve match point and force a fifth game.
The Lady Tornado won the race to eight, allowing teams to switch sides of the court but the change did not stall King's rally to victory. Erin Courtenay committed a service error to give King a 9-7 lead where Summer Kremer continued her hot hands of the second half of the match. With back-to-back kills from the sophomore, King jumped out to a four-point lead. A solo block at the net by Kelsey Griffitts (Bristol, Va./John Battle H.S.), King extended their lead to 13-8.
Limestone made one last-ditch effort to overcome the Lady Tornado, staving off match point three times behind a pair of kills and a block to bring them within two points, 14-12. Following a King timeout, a bad set by Jessica Onken clinched the match for King, awarding them the 15-12 victory.
Kremer finished with a team-high 19 kills, marking the third straight match she has had at least 15 kills and the 10th time in 11 games she finished with double-digit kills. Also registering double digit kills were freshman Grace Underwood (11) and Mariah Herington (12), who both hit above. 400 in the match. Underwood led the team with the highest hit percentage (min. 10 attempts) with a .429 success rate on 11-of-21 with two errors, while Herington went 12-of-26 (.423) and committed only one error on the day.
Defensively, Payton Tipton (Cleveland, Tenn.) and Maribeth Kern each finished the match with 16 digs and combined for seven service aces. Kern led King with four of her own to Tipton's three.
Limestone held the advantage on the net, 6-5, sparked by five solo blocks with three coming from Erin Courtenay. Emylee Gotsch led the Saints with 12 kills on 44 attempts and achieved a double-double with 14 digs.
King improves to 6-5 overall and 2-0 in Conference Carolinas play with their win over Limestone. After dropping their first three matches that went to a fifth game, King's last three contests have all went five sets and resulted in wins, two of which against league opponents. Their first of such snapped a 58-match league win streak held by Lees-McRae.
They will begin a five-match homestand on Tuesday, Sept. 18 when they host stateline rival Virginia Intermont at 7 p.m. The Lady Tornado then jump back into conference play with matches against Pfeiffer (Sept. 21) and Queens University of Charlotte (Sept. 22). King will host Queens (N.C.) and Lander College as part of a tri-match beginning at 12 noon, all at the Student Center Complex.