BANNER ELK, N.C. – In the continuing Battle for the Blue Ridge Cup, Lees-McRae gained a point after defeating Lady Tornado Volleyball, 3-0 (25-18, 25-9, 26-24), on Wednesday night. Summer Kremer led King with eight kills on a night the team struggled on the attack.
King began the opening set strong, taking a 9-8 advantage following a block by Grace Underwood and Mariah Herington and two straight service aces by Payton Tipton (Cleveland, Tenn.). Out of a called timeout, Lees-McRae jumped into the lead, taking King to a 15 all score before breaking away with a 4-0 run. The Bobcats built up a four-point lead, paced by a pair of kills by Taylor Clendenin and rode out to a win in the first set, 25-18.
Megan Mitchell helped LMC out to a 9-0 run to open the second game. The Bobcats hit 50 percent in the frame and controlled the net tallying four team blocks to King's one. The Lady Tornado dropped the second set, 25-9, giving Lees-McRae a 2-0 advantage.
King put up a fight in the third and final set, forcing extra points to be scored to determine the set winner. Only once did either team gain more than a three-point advantage, that being King's to hold momentarily with the score 18-15 midway through the set. Haydn Beatty turned the tables with consecutive kills to draw within a point before both teams swapped points and an attack error by Kelsey Griffitts tied the game at 19. The Lady Tornado again took a two-point edge via a service ace by freshman Maribeth Kern (Buchanan, Va.) and a kill by Mariah Herington (Jonesborough, Tenn.).
Out of their second called timeout, Taylor Clendenin put down four consecutive kills to give LMC match point. Consecutive blocks by Herington and the combination of Griffitts, and Summer Kremer (Mills River, N.C.) once again tied the contest, 24-24, but Clendenin rose to the call once again for her fifth straight kill then served the Bobcats to victory, setting up a kill by teammate Rachel Grether to give Lees-McRae a 26-24 win.
The loss drops King to 13-13 overall and matches Lees-McRae with a 7-6 Conference Carolinas record. They now share second place in the West Division with the Bobcats with three conference games left to play.
The Lady Tornado will continue their current five-match road trip to play Converse College (0-26, 0-13) on Oct. 26. They will then conclude with West Division leader, Erskine College (13-10, 11-2) on Oct. 27.