Photo Courtesy of Katie Jo Daniel
BANNER ELK, N.C. – Following a seven-match home stand, the Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team will head out on the road for a pair of key Conference Carolinas matches this week. LMC will begin the week with a trip to Belmont Abbey Tuesday before heading to rival King on Saturday. Tuesday's match is set for a 7 p.m. first serve with Saturday's contest scheduled for a 2 p.m. start time.
Last Time Out – The Bobcats saw their four-match winning streak get snapped Saturday as they fell in five sets to Limestone. The defeat moves LMC's record to 7-17 overall and 3-6 in conference action.
200-200 Club – With her performances last week against Converse and Limestone, Caitlyn Smirne joined an exclusive group of players within Conference Carolinas. Smirne is now one of just five players in the league that have accumulated over 200 kills and 200 digs in 2018. Additionally, Smirne has already set new career-bests in kills (211), aces (46) and digs (233) with five matches to go in the regular season.
Postseason Push – Lees-McRae is looking to make its return to the Conference Carolinas Tournament after not qualifying for the event last season. Currently, the Bobcats sit in the final qualifying spot among the north division teams with a two-match lead on Mount Olive with five matches to play. Depending upon the results around the rest of the division, LMC could finish as high as third in the north.
Peaking at the right time - Even with the loss to Limestone on Saturday, the Bobcats still have a winning record in the month of October checking in at 4-3. If the team can go 2-1 over its final three matches of October, it would mark the program's first winning month since November of 2015 when the squad went 2-1.
About the Opponents – No other team has won more matches this season than Belmont Abbey has within the conference. The Crusaders, which come into this week with a record of 17-9, have won three straight matches and seven of their last eight coming into Tuesday's clash with Lees-McRae. The Crusaders have been led this season by the duo of Mackenzie Chrapliwy and Sarah Kenney. Chrapliwy is third in the league with 276 kills, while Kenney paces the conference with 429 digs.
King, meanwhile, also boasts winning records both overall (13-9) and in conference matches (5-4) in 2018. Much like the Bobcats, the Tornado have played their best lately as they have won four of their last five matches. Freshman Julie Ward has provided a definite spark in her first collegiate season. Ward leads the team with 252 kills and is second on the team with 238 digs.
Series Histories vs. Opponents – There is no shortage of history between the Bobcats and their two foes this week. Since 2005, Lees-McRae has faced Belmont Abbey and King over 40 times. LMC holds a 17-11 advantage over the Crusaders even with BAC's 3-0 sweep of the Bobcats earlier this season. The Tornado, however, hold the slight edge of Lees-McRae as they have won eight of the 15 all-time meetings.