King Wins Fourth Straight Against Crusaders

Photos courtesy Katie Bowels
Photos courtesy Katie Bowels
BELMONT, N.C. – Lady Tornado Women's Volleyball completed the trifecta of athletic events that pitted King College against Belmont Abbey, capping the night off with a four-set victory over the Crusaders to win the unofficial three-sport series held Wednesday. King defeated Belmont Abbey 26-24, 25-17, 21-25, 25-17 to improve to 15-11 overall, 9-6 in league play.

The duo of Sarah Van Goethem (Aurora, Colo.) and Ashley Pittman (Norris, Tenn.) with 17 kills each from their outside hitter spots. Van Goethem started the match on fire going 6-for-10 (.600) in the first set and then 5-for-9 (.556) in the second set, combining for zero errors. In her final two sets she turned in an excellent defensive effort, accumulating 13 of her 16 total digs. Here kill and dig count led the junior to her eighth double-double of the season and second straight game with the achievement.

Pittman turned up the offense in her final two sets going a combined 13-for-22 (.591) on the attack and only committing two errors. She finished her evening with 17 kills, hitting at a .263 clip with four digs and two block assists.

Freshman libero Payton Tipton (Cleveland, Tenn.) shined late once again with a team-high 17 digs, 12 coming in the final two sets. She now has 15 games with 10 or more digs in a single match and four straight.

Other notable performances include Mariah Herington (Jonesborough, Tenn.), who had seven kills on 13 attempts for a hit percentage of .462. Three players finished with double-digit dig counts including Van Goethem, Tipton and Joscelyn Knott (Lake Mary Fla.) who ended with 13. Shannon Earwood (Carson City, Nev.)

"It sounds simple but we played a complete game tonight," said Head Coach Chris Toomey. "We hit well. We played great defense. We distributed the ball well and involved a lot of different people. It was just a really solid outing by the entire team."

King (15-11, 9-6) has now won four straight matches and have six league games remaining on the schedule and eight total. Their next match will be played against local rival Virginia Intermonth (9-14), who the Lady Tornado beat at home in straight sets on Sept. 13. They will play the Cobras on Oct. 20 with a 6:30 p.m. first service.

The win also clinches King a postseason spot in the Conference Carolinas Tournament beginning in less than three weeks. The top five teams from the Western Division will make it to postseason play and King currently sits in third place behind Lees-McRae (14-0) and Erskine (10-2).