WILSON, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team won the final three sets on their way to a 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-19, 36-34) win over the Barton College Lady Bulldogs in Conference Carolinas action.
Lees-McRae improved to 10-4 overall and 5-1 in the league. Barton slipped to 6-10 overall and 3-3 in league play.
"Barton really stepped up to the plate today and showed a lot of character," Lees-McRae head coach Jamie Petrik said. "In many critical situations, they put the ball down and we didn't. However, we did come through in the end. Any time a game goes into the 30s, it's just a flip of the coin as to who will win."
Both Petrik and Barton head coach Patrick Morgan commisserated over substitutes. Both had used up all their available substitutions in game four by the time the score reached 24-24.
"Both teams ran out of subs, which made it very interesting," Petrik said. "We had two 5-foot-5 setters in the front row for more than two rotations. In fact, we had three setters in there during that stretch, which probably helped us because there were a lot of freaky plays."
Barton fell behind in the fourth set, but rallied to a 17-14 lead. Lees-McRae tied it at 19-19, then the seesaw affair continued for 32 more points. Megan Epperson (St. John, IN), Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, NC) and Whitney Justice (Franklin, TN) had some big kills down the stretch.
Barton had set point five times, but Lees-McRae came up with the big play each time. The Lady Bulldogs were also hurt by two service errors late in the set.
Set four was the longest set the Lady Bobcats have played since the NCAA reduced the points in a game from 30 to 25.
Justice finished with 15 kills, one solo block and five block assists. Clendenin logged 14 kills and three block assists and Epperson had 15 kills. Freshman setter Megan Mitchell notched 37 assists and two aces in three games while freshmen libero Luana Rocha recorded 21 digs and five aces.
Lees-McRae returns to action Wednesday, September 30th when they travel to Queens.
Pictured: Taylor Clendenin