BRISTOL, Tenn. – Sophomore Summer Kremer tallied 41 kills over two matches and set a new career high with 23 kills in a single match on Saturday. King fell in its two matches against the Erskine Flying Fleet and the Carson-Newman Eagles, both in four sets.
GAME ONE – Erskine 3, King 1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-20)
Summer Kremer (Mills River, N.C.) made 18 kills to lead King once again, but Erskine took the final three sets to win, 3-1, in a Conference Carolinas match Saturday afternoon at the Student Center Complex. With the victory, Erskine took sole possession of the Conference Carolinas West Division lead with a conference record of 7-2 while the loss dropped King one game behind.
The first set was tight the whole way, with neither team leading by more than three points for the entire set, despite King having a .265 team hitting percentage and Erskine only having a percentage of .143. Erskine led 20-18, but King went on a 4-1 run to take a 22-21 lead, prompting the Flying Fleet to call a timeout. Erskine took the next point, but three straight errors allowed the Lady Tornado to win the first set, 25-22.
The second set was back and forth, with both squads holding leads in the first half of the set. However, Erskine took a 14-13 lead and held a small lead for the rest of the set. Erskine faced set point at 24-21, but a kill by Olivia Underwood (Pearland, Texas) made the score 24-22. Erskine took the next point to take the second set, 25-22, on a kill by Liz Massey. The Lady Tornado outhit the Flying Fleet, .250 to .174, but four service errors held King back in the second set.
Erskine took the momentum from the second set to race out to an 11-3 lead in the third. King made a furious rally to close the lead to two at 21-19 with a 9-1 run late in the set. Erskine responded to make the score 24-21 to have three set points. Consecutive kills by the Lady Tornado made it 24-23, but a kill by Erskine's Lauren Stewart gave the Flying Fleet the third set, 25-23, and a 2-1 lead. Payton Tipton (Cleveland, Tenn.) made eight digs in the frame, and Willoughby added four kills for King.
The fourth set was close for most of the frame. With the score tied at 17, Erskine took eight of the last 11 points to win the set, 25-20, and take the match, three sets to one. Kremer had seven kills on 15 attempts in the frame, and Maribeth Kern (Buchanan, Va.) made eight digs in the set to pace the Lady Tornado. Erskine had their best hitting percentage of the match in the fourth set with a mark of .381 compared to King's .208 hitting percentage.
Lauren Stewart led Erskine with 16 kills, and Kelly Sullivan added 14 kills in just 27 attempts and also had six aces. Bailey Thornton was the match leader in digs, with 22.
Willoughby gave the Lady Tornado two players with double digit kills as she had 11 in the match. Tipton led King with 17 digs.
GAME TWO – Carson-Newman 3, King 1 (27-29, 25-20, 27-25, 25-23)
The Lady Tornado battled with the Carson-Newman Eagles in our four games but found itself on the winning end only one. In the first set, the largest lead was three points, enjoyed by King early in the set. Most of the first set from that point on never featured a lead more than one point until the very end. Tied at 27, junior Mariah Herington (Jonesborough, Tenn.) gave King a one point led with a kill from the center of the court. That was followed by a kill freshman Lauren Willoughby, which put away the first set and gave King a 29-27 win to take an early one-game advantage.
King and Carson-Newman ran out to a 13-13 tie before the Eagles slowly pulled away to a five-point win. The trio of Sabina Papala, Ashley Ferris, and Rachel Harper helped build a 16-10 lead before both teams exchanged timeouts at the 20-17 mark. Harper went back to work and was coupled with teammate Rachel Bowlin to build a 22-17 lead, a cushion they kept to the end of a 25-20 final score.
For the second time in the match, both teams battled into extra point to find a winner to take the tilt going into the fourth game. The third set was neck-and-neck until the Tornado both accumulated and lost a two-point lead late in the game. Grace Underwood put forth a kill and followed with an ace on her next service to put King ahead 23-21 but the Eagles fought back to tie the game. After Olivia Underwood set the Lady Tornado up for game point, Carson-Newman broke the point and took a lead via kills by Ashley Ferris and Rachel Harper. King returned the favor by breaking game point at 25-24, but Harper and Sabina Papala each registered kills to seal a 27-25 win and put the Eagles up 2-1.
In the fourth and final game of the match, King fought back from five points down and behind three different Eagle errors the Lady Tornado made up ground to trail only by one point, 19-18. Kelsey Griffitts (Bristol, Va./John Battle H.S.) turned up the heat with two late kills to tie the game at 22, but the Eagles' Ashley Ferris, Rachel Harper, and Rachel Bowlin all combined for kills in the final four services to guide Carson-Newman to a 3-1 match victory.
Summer Kremer set a new career-high with 23 kills on 59 attempts against the Saints. Her previous single game best was 21 which she achieved twice against Francis Marion (Sept. 8) and Tusculum (Oct. 2).
The Lady Tornado, now 12-10 overall and 6-3 in conference play, will host Barton College at home on Oct. 9. First service is set for 7 p.m.