BRISTOL, Tenn. – It wasn't always easy, but the King University women's volleyball team advanced to the Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinals with a 3-0 sweep of seventh seeded Converse College on Saturday. Kelsey Griffitts, Summer Kremer and Grace Underwood paced the Tornado attack that hit over .300 in the final two sets.
The first set was played tight the entire way until Underwood and Mariah Herington pounded home back-to-back kills to give King a 17-15 lead and force Converse timeout. The Valkyries (7-25) tallied a point out of the break, but Herington and Maribeth Kern answered with consecutive kills before Underwood served back-to-back aces, forcing another timeout. Griffitts gave King a chance at set point with her fifth kill of the set, and Kremer gave King the 25-18 win with her second kill of the match.
The Tornado (31-4) looked to set the tone early in the second set, jumping out to a 9-3 lead. King held their lead there, and stretched it to 20-13 following a Kern kill before Converse started to work their way back into the set. The Valkyries scored seven of the next nine points to get within 22-20 before Kern and Underwood drilled back-to-back kills as the Tornado took the set 25-20.
King again grabbed the early lead in the third set, and stretched it to 16-9 following consecutive kills by Kremer that forced Converse timeout. The Valkyries came back and got within 18-16 before Underwood and Kremer teamed up to force another Converse timeout at 20-16. Kern served up back-to-back aces, and Griffitts gave King the 25-18 win with her 11th kill of the match, moving the Tornado to the semifinals.
Griffitts and Kremer led the Tornado with 11 kills. Griffitts only made two attack errors on 15 attempts for an attack percentage of .600, which was outdone by Underwood who hit .800. She posted 10 kills on 17 attempts without an attack error. Payton Tipton led three King defenders in double figures with 17 digs. Kern accounted for 11 digs and eight kills while Blair Fields chipped in with 10 digs. Olivia Underwood dished out a team-high 34 assists.
King will be in action again on Wednesday night when they host either third seed Mount Olive College or sixth seed Limestone College in the Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinals. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., in the Student Center Complex.