Offense leads King to sweep final day of KU Invite

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King University women's volleyball team continued their roll on Saturday at their home tournament, pushing their winning streak to five matches. The Tornado started the day with a 3-0 sweep of UVa-Wise, and followed it with another sweep, this time defeating Concord University 3-0 in the tournament finale.

Trailing 7-5 in the first set against UVa-Wise (1-4), Mariah Herington sparked a Tornado run with her first of three kills in the match. Maribeth Kern forced a Cavalier timeout with a kill that put King up 12-7 before Herington extended the run to 8-0 on the other side of the break. The Tornado held that lead, and Olivia Underwood gave King the 25-17 set win with one of her three kills in the match.

The King offense stayed hot in the second set, opening up a 10-4 lead following back-to-back kills by Lauren Willoughby and Ashton Beckner. King extended their lead to 19-9 following a service ace by Olivia Underwood, a kill by Grace Underwood, and another Beckner kill. After UVa-Wise fought off a pair of set points, Jordan Baty gave King the 25-16 win to go up 2-0.

The Tornado offense didn't show any signs of slowing down as they quickly gained a 4-0 following a Tiffany Baines service ace in the third set. The advantage grew to as many as eight points before the Tornado took the set 25-21 to take the 3-0 victory.

Willoughby and Summer Kremer led a balanced offensive attack with seven kills apiece while Olivia Underwood dished out 27 assists. Payton Tipton anchored the defense with 24 kills, and Baty registered five block assists.

It was more of the same in the night cap as King quickly gained a 7-3 lead over Concord (3-4) following a Grace Underwood kill in the first set. After a Mountain Lion point, Kremer ignited a 6-0 Tornado run with one of her 10 kills in the match. Grace Underwood followed with a kill, and Brooke Calhoun registered a service ace on the spurt. King then went on an 8-0 run, capped by back-to-back kills by Kern to give King a 21-6 lead. However, Concord started coming back and got within 22-18 before Kremer drilled home a kill. Tipton followed with consecutive service aces to give King the 25-18 first set win.

The Tornado (6-3) offense sputtered a bit to start the second set as Concord opened up an 11-7 lead before Sarah Collins sparked the King offense her only kill of the match. Baty eventually evened the set at 13 with a kill and Casey Williams later gave King their first lead of the set with a service ace to make the score 21-20. The Tornado eventually took the set 25-22 to take the 2-0 lead.

King came from behind again in the third set as a Kremer kill sparked a 7-0 run with the Tornado trailing 7-5, and Calhoun gave the Tornado an 8-7 lead with an ace. The Tornado held a slim 20-19 lead before Kern gave them some breathing room, starting a 5-0 run with a kill. Kelsey Griffitts gave the Tornado a chance at set point, and Kern end the match with her 13th kill of the match giving King the 25-20 win.

Kern led King with 13 kills while Kremer was the only other Tornado to reach double figures with 10 kills. Olivia Underwood dished out 23 assists while Williams registered a double-double with 12 assists and 11 digs. Tipton led the Tornado with 12 digs.

King will be in action again on Wednesday night when they travel to take on UVa-Wise at 6:30 p.m.