King tops Valkyries on the road

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The King University women's volleyball team stayed on the road to take on Converse College in a Conference Carolinas match. The Tornado offense came ready to attack, leading King to the 3-1 (25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20) victory.

Kelsey Griffitts gave King an early 4-3 lead, which they wouldn't relinquish with her first kill of the match. The Tornado (25-4, 14-1 CC) maintained a four point advantage for most of the first frame until Maribeth Kern sparked a quick 4-0 spurt with a pair of kill. Casey Williams followed with an ace, and Griffitts gave King a commanding 23-16 lead as the Tornado went on to take the set 25-18.

King opened the second set on a tear as Payton Tipton recorded three service aces to give the Tornado a 7-1 advantage. The Tornado lead reached 11 points three times in the match, coming on kills by Jordan Baty and Lauren Willoughby. The final time was at 24-13 before Converse (5-22, 5-10 CC) began to comeback. The Valkyries scored four straight points before Willoughby ended the 25-17 set win.

The third set was very tight all the way through, and with the score even at 15, King used a 6-0 to gain control of the set, or so it seemed. Ashton Beckner and Hanna Smyth registered back-to-back kills to start the spurt, and Sarah Collins accounted for a kill before Grace Underwood capped the spurt with a service ace. However, the Valkyries responded with a 9-0 run to take a 24-21 lead before taking the set 25-22 to force a fourth set.

The beginning of the fourth set was tight, but the Tornado gained separation late in the frame again. This time with the score even at 16, Summer Kremer and Griffitts hammered down consecutive kills and Olivia Underwood ended a quick 3-0 run with a service ace. Kern then registered two straight kills for King before ending the match with her 10th kill, giving the Tornado the 25-20 win.

Kremer led the Tornado with 13 kills on 23 attempts while making just two errors for an attack percentage of .478. Kern followed with those 10 kills, and Willoughby chipped in with nine kills. Olivia Underwood dished out 44 assists while Tipton recorded a team-high 12 digs.

King returns home on Wednesday when they host a triangular in the Student Center Complex. The Tornado will face Saint Augustine's at 2:30 p.m., and Converse College at 7:00 p.m.