Bobcats sweep Royals to claim conference tournament title

Box score

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Senior Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) posted a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs to earn tournament MVP honors, and lead the Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team to a straight-set sweep of Queens University of Charlotte in the championship match of the Conference Carolinas Tournament on Sunday afternoon in Williams Gymnasium.

Lees-McRae (27-8) won the match by scores of 25-21, 25-21, and 25-18, holding Queens (23-9) to a .034 hitting percentage while attacking at a .232 clip of its own. The Bobcats also posted 6.5 blocks and six service aces en route to the program's 13th conference tournament championship in the last 14 years.

Epperson and Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) each posted a match-high 10 kills, as Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas) chipped in eight smashes on 12 swings to notch a .500 hitting percentage. Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) recorded a match-high 31 assists to establish a new career-best with 1,173 helpers this season, while also chipping in eight digs. Sariah Suryadevara (Cincinnati, Ohio) added a match-high 14 digs, as Jessica Singewald (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) chipped in a contest-best four blocks.

Keri Kemp paced the Royals with 10 kills to earn a spot on the all-tournament team, as Jocelyn Kellinger and Erin Mooney added nine and six digs, respectively. Brittany Harvey added four kills to also earn a spot on the all-tournament team.

Lees-McRae started off strong, opening an early 13-8 lead on back-to-back Royal miscues before Queens responded with a 6-1 run to even the tally at 14-14 on a service ace from Taylor Riley. After the Bobcats reclaimed a 20-16 lead on a kill from Fox and Queens cut the margin to 20-19 on an LMC miscue, Lees-McRae went on a 5-2 spurt to close out the set and take a 1-0 advantage in the match.

The second set proved to be a tightly contested affair, with neither team claiming more than a two-point margin until the Bobcats launched a 9-1 run to take a 17-11 lead on a Singewald smash. Queens would cut the margin to 18-17 with a 6-1 run, and after the Bobcats stretched the lead to 21-17 and the Royals countered with a 4-1 spurt, Lees-McRae closed out the set on an Epperson kill and back-to-back aces from Suryadevara to take a commanding 2-0 advantage in the match.

Lees-McRae would rally from an early 8-5 deficit in the third set, going on a 5-0 run to claim a 10-8 advantage on a Royal miscue. The Bobcats would hold the lead for the duration of the set, pushing the margin to 22-15 before closing out the set and the match on an emphatic block by Epperson and Singewald.

The Bobcats will now await the announcement of the 64-team field that will compete for the 2011 NCAA Division II women's volleyball national championship, having clinched a spot in the field via the automatic bid from Conference Carolinas. The field will be announced via webcast on NCAA.com tonight at 10 p.m.

- LMC -

2011 Conference Carolinas all-Tournament Team
Jamie Murray, Erskine
Sarah Van Goethem, King
Keri Kemp, Queens
Brittany Harvey, Queens
Megan Mitchell, Lees-McRae
Lauren Fox, Lees-McRae
Megan Epperson, Lees-McRae (MVP)