NEWBERRY, S.C. – In what was reminiscent of a heavyweight bout, the King University women's volleyball team was locked in a back-and-forth affair against USC Aiken on Friday night in Newberry, South Carolina. The Tornado came back after dropping the first set to win the next two, but the Pacers answered by winning the final two sets to take the 3-2 victory (25-22, 22-25, 18-25, 25-18, 15-13).
The first set was played within a four point spread the entire way with USC Aiken (3-1) holding the advantage in the early going until Summer Kremer recorded three straight kills to give King (1-3) an 8-7 lead. The Tornado opened up a 12-9 lead before the Pacers came back to even the frame at 13. King then regained the lead and Grace Underwood gave the Tornado the largest lead of the set at 20-16 with a kill. However, the Pacers started to comeback, using a 4-0 spurt to take a 22-21 lead and force a King timeout. Nevertheless, USC Aiken scored three of the final four points to take the set 25-22.
USC Aiken jumped ahead early again in the second set, and stretched their lead to 12-6 before the Tornado started to work their way back into the frame. Trailing 16-11, consecutive kills by Underwood, Lauren Willoughby, Jordan Baty and another from Underwood pulled King within 16-14 and forced a Pacer timeout. Out of the timeout, Kremer served up a pair of aces to give King a 17-16 lead. The teams then traded points, before Kremer gave King a 23-21 advantage. Kremer eventually ended the 25-22 set win for the Tornado with another kill. The Pacers hit a blistering .429 in the second set while King posted a .394 attack percentage.
The offense stayed white hot in the third set for the Tornado, and the defense improved. King held the high powered USC Aiken offense to just a .114 attack percentage in the third set while hitting .414 in the 25-18 set victory. The Tornado lead was 13-10 when Kremer registered a kill to spark a 7-2 spurt that gave King a commanding 20-12 advantage. Willoughby gave the Tornado a chance a set point, and Kremer put another ball away to cap the set, giving King the 2-1 lead.
It appeared as though the Tornado offense would stay on a roll in the four set as King quickly opened up a 4-1 lead behind another Kremer kill. King later held a 13-9 lead following one of 10 kills by Sarah Collins. However, the Pacers started to gradually come back, scoring five of the next six points to even the set at 14. The frame was again even at 17 before USC Aiken gain separation with a 3-0, prompting a Tornado timeout. The timeout didn't help, however, as the Pacers took the set 25-18 to force a fifth set.
Nothing changed in the fifth set as the teams continued to trade blows. The Pacers scored three straight points to take an 8-5 lead when the teams changed sides of the net. However, Kremer answered with a kill, and Baty evened the score at eight with one over her 10 kills in the match. Collins and Baty then gave King a 10-9 lead, and forced a USC Aiken timeout with a block, but the Pacers regained an 11-10 lead after the break in action. Collins responded however, with kill and a solo block to give the lead back to King at 12-11. Nevertheless, the Pacers scored three straight points to gain a 14-12 advantage. The Tornado held off one match point, but the Pacers took the set 15-13 to win the match 3-2.
King hit .308 in the win while the Pacers posted a .281 attack percentage. USC Aiken recorded 73 kills to King's 61 and registered 68 digs while the Tornado posted 62 digs.
Kremer led the Tornado offense with 23 kills, just four off of her career high. She added 14 digs for her first double-double of the season. Olivia Underwood also posted a double-double, dishing out 51 assists to go along with 10 digs. She eclipsed the 50 assist plateau for the second time in her career, and came within two helpers of her career high. Collins and Baty added 10 kills apiece while Grace Underwood and Willoughby chipped in with eight kills apiece. Tipton matched Kremer's 14 kills to lead the Tornado defense.
Ashley Diedrich led the Pacer attack, accounting for 32 kills to go along with 20 digs. She was one of three Pacers to reach double figures in kills and she joined the libero, Monica Cardona with more than 20 digs as Cardona posted 24 digs. Sheila Walsh also registered a double-double for USC Aiken, going for 11 kills and 11 digs.
King will be in action again on Tuesday when they travel to the Concord University triangular. King will face Alderson Broaddus University at 5:00 p.m., before taking on the hosts at 7:00 p.m.