Fleet outlast Bobcats in four-set battle

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Erskine College women's volleyball team rallied for a hard-fought four-set victory over Lees-McRae College in an epic Conference Carolinas battle on Tuesday evening in Williams Gymnasium, overcoming a 1-0 deficit en route to its first win in Banner Elk in five years.

Erskine (6-11, 5-5 CC) won the match by scores of 23-25, 25-23, 25-21, and 25-21, posting 60 digs, 44 kills, and nine blocks as Lees-McRae (2-20, 0-9 CC) dug out 67 Fleet attacks and held Erskine to a .164 hitting percentage on the night.

Senior Molly Corhn (Hendersonville, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with a double-double, posting 19 digs and a match-high 25 assists, as Avalon Liscio (Naples, Fla.) added a double-double of her own with 14 kills and 12 digs. Candace Niemiec (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Haylee Leonard (Wallburg, N.C.) chipped in 13 and 11 digs, respectively, as Angela Morse (Clinton Township, Mich.) posted four blocks (one solo, three assists.

Caitlin Bullock led the way for Erskine with a match-high 17 kills, while adding 10 digs to post a double-double. Anna Butrym tallied contest-bests of 24 digs and three service aces, as A.J. Campbell chipped in seven kills and a match-high six blocks.

After Erskine jumped out to an early 8-5 lead in the first set, and the Bobcats answered with back-to-back points, the Fleet countered with a 5-0 spurt, pushing the margin to 13-7 on a kill by Allie Evans. The Bobcats would chip away over the next several minutes, cutting the advantage to 17-14 on a smash by Liscio.

Following a pair of quick points by the Fleet, Lees-McRae responded with a 10-3 surge, claiming a 24-22 lead on a Banta smash before capping the set with an Erskine miscue.

Erskine answered in the second, opening the frame with a 5-1 run before the Bobcats responded with a 10-6 spurt, evening the tally at 11-11 following a Fleet miscue. The teams would battle back and forth for the remainder of the set, with Lees-McRae fighting off a trio of set points before Campbell closed out the frame with a kill.

The Bobcats responded once again in the third, taking an early 5-3 lead on a Liscio smash. Erskine fought back with an 11-3 run, snatching a 14-8 advantage following a dump by Catherine Hurt. The Fleet would push the margin to 21-13 before the Bobcats countered, closing the gap to 22-20 following a Leonard smash. Erskine answered with three of the next four points, claiming the set on a kill from Kelly Sullivan to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Fleet carried the momentum into the fourth frame, breaking an 11-11 deadlock with a 10-0 surge to open a 21-11 advantage following an ace from Butrym. The Bobcats fought back, closing the gap to 22-16 with a 5-1 spurt before Erskine quelled the rally, capping the set and the match after an ace by Bullock.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Wednesday, October 23 when the Bobcats travel to Misenheimer, N.C. to take on Pfeiffer University in Conference Carolinas play at 7 p.m.

- LMC -