Bobcats rally past Coker, 3-1

Box score

HARTSVILLE, S.C. --- Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) tallied a match-high 13 kills and four service aces to lead the Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team to a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Coker College on Friday night in Conference Carolinas play.

Lees-McRae (21-8, 15-0 CC) won the match by scores of 21-25, 25-14, 25-9, and 25-18, holding Coker (8-16, 5-8 CC) to a .020 hitting percentage while extending its winning streak in conference play to 46 straight contests dating back to the 2009 season. The Bobcats posted a .190 hitting percentage on the night, recording nine service aces and six blocks as the Cobras posted 10 stuffs in the match.

Clendenin recorded 13 kills and a .235 hitting percentage on the night, while also posting eight digs and a match-high four aces. Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) chipped in 12 kills to move within two smashes of becoming the first player in program history to breach the 1,400-kill plateau. The senior outside hitter also recorded five digs to move within 10 savers of tying the program's all-time record.

Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) added a match-high 34 assists to go along with eight digs and four kills, while Sariah Suryadevara (Cincinnati, Ohio) added a team-high 14 digs. Taylor Pritchett (Apex, N.C.) also chipped in nine digs, as Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas) added seven kills and three blocks.

Taylor Willis paced the Cobras with 10 kills on 22 swings, adding five blocks as Brittany Bass and Katie McElveen chipped in 16 and 15 digs, respectively. Hannah Vadakin added a match-high seven blocks and five kills, while Samantha Celek chipped in 22 assists and eight digs.

Coker jumped out to an early 11-5 lead in the first set, forcing a Bobcat timeout before pushing the margin to 16-8 on a block by Celek and Vadakin on the heels of a 5-3 spurt. The Bobcats responded with a 7-2 run, closing the gap to 18-15 on a Cobra miscue. After Coker stretched the lead to 22-17 and the Bobcats answered with a 3-0 spurt to cut the margin to 22-20, the Cobras closed out the set with a 3-1 run to take a 1-0 advantage in the match on a kill by Vadakin.

The Bobcats responded in the second set, launching an 11-5 run early in the frame to take a 14-8 lead on an Epperson kill. After Coker trimmed the margin to 14-12 with a 4-0 spurt, Lees-McRae responded with an 11-2 run to close out the 25-14 second-set win and even the match at 1-1.

Lees-McRae carried the momentum into the third, jumping out to a 12-5 lead on a Pritchett service ace to force a Coker timeout. The Bobcats continued to dictate the tempo after the break, going on a 6-2 run to open an 18-7 lead on an ace by Clendenin. Lees-McRae then closed out the set with a 7-2 spurt to claim the 25-9 third-frame win on a dump by Mitchell.

The Bobcats fought back from an early 7-4 deficit in the fourth set, launching an 11-3 run to take a 15-10 lead on a Fox kill. Coker answered with a 4-1 run to cut the margin to 16-14 before the Bobcats countered with a 5-3 spurt, taking a 21-17 lead on an ace by Pritchett. The Bobcats then closed out the set and the match with a 4-1 spurt that was capped by back-to-back kills from Fox.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday when the Bobcats travel to Laurinburg, N.C. to take on St. Andrews University in conference play at 2 p.m.

- LMC -