BRISTOL, Tenn. – Lady Tornado Volleyball celebrated Senior Night with a captivating win over the Limestone Saints that clinched their spot in the 2012 Conference Carolinas Women's Volleyball Tournament. King defeated Limestone 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-21) in their regular season finale at the Student Center Complex, Friday night. Summer Kremer led the Lady Tornado with 17 kills while Payton Tipton led the defense with as many digs.
King surrendered the first set to the Saints in large part due to a 7-2 run by Limestone at the beginning of the first set that created distance between the two teams. The Saints' largest lead of the set was six points, fueled by the blocking combination of Jessica Onken and Nikki Eno, who combined for two of the team's three blocks, and nine King hitting errors. King stormed back from a six-point deficit at 22-16 to draw within one point, but after a timeout by the Saints, Emylee Gotsch and Haley Thomas threw down one kill each to take the first set, 25-23.
Summer Kremer (Mills River, N.C.) and Kelsey Griffitts (Bristol, Va./John Battle H.S.) woke the Lady Tornado up with four kills each in the second set, accompanying Maribeth Kern's three service aces. Neither team led by more than a point until King went on a 6-0 run with the score tied 15-15. Kern, a native of Buchanan, Va., posted three consecutive service aces to help in that run, giving King a 21-15 advantage. Grace Underwood (Pearland, Texas) helped keep the momentum rolling with her third kill of the frame before tossing up an ace from the service line to put King up 23-17. The second half of the Texas twosome, Olivia Underwood, finished off the frame with a kill to tie the match at one, 25-20.
The Lady Tornado jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, but it did not last long before Limestone came back to tie it up at eight. Tied at 13, Maribeth Kern went wild at the service line, leading King out to a 10-point rally that featured six Saints errors and three more service aces. At 23-13, Limestone took a timeout and chipped away at the King lead but Sumer Kremer put points 24 and 25 down to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.
Kremer continued to hit well, registering the first two kills of the clinching fourth frame to help King out to a 5-1 lead early, prompting a Limestone timeout. King held that edge behind Kremer's five kills and Grace Underwood's four in the set. The Lady Tornado held a lead as large as eight points before the Saints began to close the gap to three, 23-20. Together, G. Underwood and Kremer slammed down the team's final two points to win the set and match.
King hosted two players with 10-plus kills. Grace Underwood finished with 12 kills on 23 attempts (.304). She also led the two with a pair of block assists in the middle.
Sophomore Summer Kremer led the team with 17 kills on 26 attempts (.278). She now has totaled 10 or more kills in her last three contests to close out the regular season.
Sophomore libero Payton Tipton (Cleveland, Tenn.) defended the floor with a team-high 17 digs. She finishes the season with 10 or more digs in four of her last five games.
Emylee Gotsch led the Saints with 10 kills on 45 attempts while Rebecca Kerrison posted 14 digs. Nikki Eno helped Limestone accumulate 10.0 team blocks, tallying two solo blocks and six block assists.
The win by the Lady Tornado clinches their spot in the 2012 Conference Carolinas Women's Volleyball Tournament. Play around the league will dictate what seed King acquires and where they will play their first round tournament contest. An announcement about the team's playoff destination will be made after the conclusion of the final conference game on Nov. 6.
Prior to the game, senior Jessica Hammond (Kingsport, Tenn./Sullivan South H.S.) was honored for her contributions to the Lady Tornado volleyball program. She has played in 11 matches, starting five of those as a defensive specialist. She has totaled 12 service aces on the year, six of which coming against Winston-Salem State University on Thursday, Nov. 1.