Photo Courtesy of Gerry Wall
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team is scheduled to compete in three matches this week. Among these matches will be LMC's home opener and the team's first conference match of the 2018 season. The Bobcats will start the week with a trip to UVa-Wise Tuesday (6 p.m.) before returning home Friday and Saturday when they host conference rivals Mount Olive (7 p.m.) and Belmont Abbey (2 p.m.), respectively.
Last Time Out – LMC competed in four matches last weekend in Athens, West Virginia. The Bobcats finished the four-match swing with a 2-2 record, including a pair of 3-0 sweeps of Concord and Bluefield State. The results over the weekend pushed LMC's 2018 record to 3-9.
Near NCAA Record – In Lees-McRae's 3-0 sweep of Bluefield State last Friday, the Bobcats nearly broke a NCAA record. As a team, the Bobcats hit .741 with 45 kills in 58 attacks. The hitting percentage of .741 is the second-highest ever in the history of Division II women's volleyball in a three-set match.
Among Conference Leaders – After the performances last weekend in West Virginia, several Bobcats have moved into the top five within Conference Carolinas in several statistical categories. Lexi Zangari is second in the league hitting .295 for the season, while Caitlyn Smirne ranks fourth in the conference in both kills (114) and kills per set (3.17). Rounding out the statistical leaders for LMC is the duo of Megan Gallion and Ellissa Small. Gallion is fifth in assists (303) and assists per set (7.97), and Small has the fifth-most aces in the league with 16.
Sweeping Stat – With the pair of 3-0 victories last weekend, nine of the team's past 10 victories have been 3-0 sweeps. The only time the Bobcats won a match in more than three sets during the past two seasons was on September 30, 2017 when they defeated Erskine in four frames.
About the Opponents – LMC's three opponents this week all have records below the .500 mark so far in 2018. UVa-Wise (1-9) and Mount Olive (1-8) both have one win a piece, while Belmont Abbey enters this week's action with a mark of 4-6.
Individually, the top player the Bobcats will take on this week is from Belmont Abbey in Mackenzie Chrapliwy. Chrapliwy currently ranks third in Conference Carolinas with 130 kills and is also third in the circuit averaging 3.42 kills per set.
Series Histories vs. Opponents – Lees-McRae has plenty of prior history against its three opponents this week. Since 2005, LMC has taken on the trio of UVa-Wise, Mount Olive and Belmont Abbey a total of 59 times. The Bobcats have fared well against all three of these programs as they boast a winning record against all three teams. In 2017, the Bobcats posted a combined record of 2-4 against UVa-Wise, Mount Olive and Belmont Abbey.