Lees-McRae Outlasts Anderson In Five-Game Thriller
ANDERSON, SC--Top-seeded Lees-McRae rallied from a 16-15 deficit in the fifth game to beat fourth-seeded Anderson in the semifinals of the Conference Carolinas Tournament Friday afternoon at the Abney Center in Anderson, SC. Lees-McRae, 25-11 overall, will face Limestone Saturday at 2 p.m. in hopes of claiming their tenth consecutive conference tournament title and a bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
"I was really concerned about playing Anderson. I think they're one of the best teams in our conference," said Lees-McRae Head Coach James Petrik. "We were up huge in game five and should have put it away, but Anderson made a great comeback." The victory marks the second time this season that Lees-McRae beat Anderson, 20-18 overall, in five games at the Abney Center.
"That was a semifinal match as it should be," said Anderson Head Coach Jennifer Bell. "I am very proud of my team and their effort."
The Anderson Trojans charged out of the gates, grabbing a 13-7 lead in front of a large, enthusiastic home crowd and forcing the Lady Bobcats to take a timeout. Anderson furthered the spread over the regular season conference champions before the Bobcats took another timeout in hopes of saving the game. However, Anderson was on fire and scored the last eight points to close out the game winning 30-17.
The second game of the afternoon proved to be a much tighter one with Lees-McRae holding a one or two point lead for most of the game. This time it was the Bobcats scoring seven of the last ten points who managed to hang on for the 30-25 win.
After splitting the first two games, the teams exchanged leads in the third game fourteen times. At the first timeout it was LMC ahead 12-9. By the time a second timeout was called Anderson had surged ahead, gaining an 18-16 lead over the Bobcats. When yet another timeout was called in the close match Lees-McRae led 25-24. Soon after, Anderson rallied from a 27-25 deficit and broke the final 28-28 tie by scoring the last two points. A block by Beth Lawson (Simpsonville, SC) provided the winning point.
Down 2-1 with the match and season on the line, the Lady Bobcats were determined to take game four. The game started out close but a 9-1 run put the Bobcats in control of the fourth game with a 21-12 lead. A block by Katie-Marie Legg (Alta Loma, CA) provided the winning point sending the match to game five.
In the fifth game, Lees-McRae built a 12-6 lead, but Anderson rallied to tie the game at 12. After two more ties, Lees-McRae scored two points to win the match. But the match didn't end there. A call for serving out of turn cost the Bobcats two points and gave the Lady Trojans one point to give Anderson a 16-15 lead. The Bobcats, however, would not settle for anything less than a victory, scoring four of the final five points to finally close out the match 19-17.
"There were so many game-changing plays in that match," Petrik said. "It was incredible."
Lees-McRae was led by senior Daviana Metti (Cordoba, Argentina) with 17 kills, 26 digs, five blocks, and three aces. Senior Caty Honey (Geneva, IL) and freshman Whitney Kiser (Connely Springs, NC) had 14 kills apiece for the Bobcats.
Another freshman, Kell Bogdan (Leawood, KS) led the Bobcat defense with 34 digs. Lees-McRae setter Lauren Dickover (Los Vegas, NV) had 49 assists.
Anderson was led by Amanda Edwards(Azle, TX) with 23 kills and 10 digs, Jamie Lancaster (Fountain Inn, SC) with 15 kills and 14 digs, and Leanna Willis (Saluda, SC) with 14 kills and 12 digs. Emily Sibgtroth (Durand, IL) added 10 kills and three blocks for the Lady Trojans.
Anderson setter Lindsay Doggett (Jacksonville, AL) had 58 assists and 10 digs. Adria Mullaney (Tampa, FL) added to the Anderson defense with 20 digs.
Pictured: Katie Legg