September 24, 2013

Willoughby leads Tornado to win over Concord

BRISTOL, Tenn. – On Tuesday night, the King University women's volleyball team played a tough nonconference match with Concord University. The Tornado got off to a slow start, and grinded out a tight 3-1 win over the Mountain Lions to extend their winning streak to nine matches.

Concord (7-7) jumped ahead early, but King gradually came back and went on a run with the score tied at 12 apiece. Lauren Willoughby sparked a quick 4-0 spurt for the Tornado offense with a kill. Kelsey Griffitts followed with a kill, and Willoughby registered another put away on the run. However, the Mountain Lions made a comeback late in the set and evened the score at 22 before Maribeth Kern came up with a kill. Kern then gave King (10-3) a chance at set point with her fifth kill of the set as the Tornado took the frame 25-23.

Willoughby kept the Tornado in the second set early as she recorded kills on four of the first seven King points. The Tornado used an 8-2 run later in the set, that was capped by an Ashton Beckner kill to take an 18-12 lead. Griffitts then gave King a chance at set point with one of her four kills in the frame, and Payton Tipton ended the 25-19 King win with an ace.

King looked to have control in the third set as they held a four point advantage most of the set, and at 16-12 following a Sarah Collins kill. However, the Concord offense came alive as the Mountain Lions gradually worked their way back, and used a 7-0 run to take a 23-19 lead. The Tornado tried to comeback, and got within one twice, the last coming at 24-23, but the Mountain Lions took the frame 25-23 to force a fourth set.

The teams traded points in the fourth set, and Blair Fields gave King a 10-7 lead with an ace. The Tornado held the lead there, and Summer Kremer gave the Tornado a 20-14 lead with back-to-back kills. However, Concord came back to even the set at 20 before Kremer struck with another kill to give the lead back to King. Willoughby capped her night with a kill to give King a chance at match point as the Tornado took the set 25-21, and the match on an attack error.

Willoughby only made two attack errors on 20 attempts while leading the team with 14 kills. For the match, she hit a blistering .600. Kern also reached double figures in kills with 10 while Olivia Underwood dished out a team-high 32 assists. Tipton led the defense with 20 digs, her fifth match with at least 20 digs this season, and third in her last four matches.

King returns to Conference Carolinas play on Friday night when they travel to Due West, S.C., to take on Erskine College. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.