GREENWOOD, S.C. --- The University of South Carolina at Aiken women's volleyball team rallied from a 2-1 deficit against Lees-McRae College on Saturday, winning the last two sets to defeat the Bobcats in five frames on the final day of Lander University's Crossover Tournament.
USC Aiken (12-12) won the match by scores of 21-25, 31-29, 24-26, 25-16, and 15-11, holding Lees-McRae (20-8) to a .093 hitting percentage while handing the Bobcats their second consecutive loss. The Pacers posted a .124 hitting percentage on the afternoon, recording 12 blocks and 84 digs as the Bobcats notched 13 service aces, 11 stuffs, and dug out 72 Pacer attacks.
Junior Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with a match-high 21 kills, registering a .280 hitting percentage while notching 12 digs to record her third straight double-double. Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) and Megan Mitchell each added a double-double of their own, as Epperson chipped in 12 kills and 12 digs and Mitchell tallied 37 assists and 12 digs. Epperson and Jessica Singewald (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) each tallied a match-high six blocks, as Sariah Suryadevara (Cincinnati, Ohio) posted a contest-best 28 digs and four service aces.
Shannon Byers and Hannah Tierney each posted a team-high 10 kills for the Pacers, as Endea Ellison chipped in nine kills and a .381 hitting percentage. Alex Petcok (20 assists and 14 digs), and Sheila Walsh (22 assists and 10 digs) each added a double-double, while Byers chipped in 17 digs to notch a double-double of her own with 17 digs. Samantha Lukralle added a match-high 28 digs, as Ellison, Tierney, and Emily Maassen each posted a contest-best six blocks.
Lees-McRae battled to a 25-21 win in the first set, leading from wire-to-wire before closing out the frame on a Clendenin smash. Aiken responded in the second, jumping out to a 15-11 lead before Lees-McRae responded with an 8-1 run, claiming a 19-17 advantage on a Pacer miscue. The Pacers fought back to even the tally at 23-23 before pushing the Bobcats to set point on a block by Ellison and Nicole DeVries.
After the Bobcats answered with back-to-back kills from Clendenin and Epperson, the Pacers engaged in a seesaw battle with Lees-McRae for the remainder of the set, as the teams traded points until Aiken claimed the frame on a Maassen kill and back-to-back Bobcat miscues to even the match at 1-1 with a 31-29 win in the second set.
Aiken carried the momentum into the third set, claiming a 17-14 lead on a Bobcat miscue to force an LMC timeout. The Bobcats quickly responded out of the brief intermission with an 8-4 run, taking a 22-21 lead on a Clendenin service ace. Aiken countered with a 3-1 spurt, pushing the Bobcats to set point before Lees-McRae answered with three straight points to close out the frame and take a 2-1 lead in the match on a Mitchell service ace.
The Pacers responded in the fourth, jumping out to an 18-11 lead following an 8-3 run. Aiken would hang out for a 25-16 win in the set, closing out the frame on a kill by Heather Granger following an emphatic block by Bobcats Epperson and Singewald.
Aiken set the tone early in the fifth set, taking an early 8-4 lead on back-to-back kills from Tierney and DeVries before the Bobcats responded with a 3-0 spurt, cutting the margin to 8-7 on a block by Clendenin and Kallai Johnston (Statesville, N.C.). The Pacers answered with a pair of quick points, taking a 10-7 lead before the Bobcats answered with a 3-1 spurt to cut the advantage to 11-10 on a kill by Suryadevara. Aiken countered with a 4-1 run to close out the set and the match, claiming the 15-11 fifth-frame win on a Bobcat miscue.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Friday, October 28 when the Bobcats travel to Hartsville, S.C. to resume their Conference Carolinas schedule against Coker College at 7 p.m.
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