Lady Railsplitters roll past Converse
AIKEN, S.C. — Behind junior Allison Beavers’ near triple-double, the Lady Railsplitters (4-2) pummeled the Converse Valkyries (0-6), 3-1, to open play at the USC-Aiken Classic in nonconference volleyball action on Friday. In the process, LMU extended their winning streak to five, as they have not dropped a match since the opening day of the season at the Pirate Volleyball Classic.
Lincoln Memorial University turned in a dominant effort on both sides of the net in their 25-13, 22-25, 25-15, 25-17 win over the Valkyries in the first of a four-match stand in the USC-Aiken Classic. The Lady Railsplitters pounded out 55 kills and notched a .235 attack percentage, while limiting Converse to 35 kills and a .069 hitting clip. Lincoln Memorial also tallied a 49-32 advantage in assists and a 67-52 disparity in digs.
Allison Beavers filled out the stat sheet with a game-high 27 assists to go along with 13 digs and six kills. Beavers’ favorite target in the match was freshman Rachel Jones, who took 26 swings and finished the contest with a game-high 14 kills. Sophomore Jazzy Oates added 12 kills on a .450 attack percentage. Six matches into the season, Oates is hitting at a .336 clip to lead the Lady Railsplitters in that category.
Sophomore Kendra Gephart and freshman Brooke Fleeman aided the attack with eight kills apiece, while Kaitlin Walton chipped in with four.
Casey Mense finished the match with a game-high 20 digs. Mense posted a season-high 25 digs in the Lady Railsplitters’ win over Mars Hill on Tuesday. Along with Mense and Beavers’ dig output, Gephart tallied 10 digs to give LMU three double-digit dig performers. Abby Cash filled out her stat ledger as well with 15 assists, three service aces and four digs.
Scottie Kay Auton paced the Valkyries with 12 kills despite making 11 errors in the match. Jenna Martin led the Converse offensive unit with 25 assists, and Aubrey Crosby buoyed the defense with 16 digs.
A Fleeman kill early in the first set sparked the Lady Railsplitters out to a 6-1 advantage. Converse chipped away at that lead over the ensuing passage of play, using a kill by Auton to cut the deficit to 10-6. From that juncture, the Lady Railsplitters took command of the match, winning six of the next 10 points, capped with a Converse attack error, to push out to a 16-10 lead. Converse took two of the next three points before the Lady Railsplitters closed the set on an 8-1 run to win the set. Lincoln Memorial ended the set with three-straight kills by Rachel Jones and a final kill from Fleeman.
Behind three kills to open the second set, LMU ran out to another 6-1 advantage early in the frame. The Valkyries answered by taking the next three-points, however, kills by Jones, Fleeman and Monica McConnaughey, along with a Mense ace, pushed LMU out to a commanding 10-4 lead. Later in the set, the Valkyries responded with a 5-1 run to cut the deficit to 17-15. They used that momentum to jockey into the lead, as Jenna Martin slammed home a kill to put Converse on top, 21-20. From there, the Valkyries took four of the next six points, capped with an LMU service error to win the second set, 25-22.
Converse used a Katie Butler service ace to kickoff the third set with a 4-2 advantage, however, the Lady Railsplitters regained the momentum by rolling off a 14-1 run to storm in front, 16-5. Oates and Gephart paced LMU over that run, tallying three kills apiece. The Valkyries would hang tough throughout the remainder of the set, cutting the deficit to 22-14 on another service ace from Butler, but Lincoln Memorial put the match away with a Valkyrie service error, a Jazzy Oates kill and an ace by Abby Cash.
The fourth set saw Converse take a 14-11 lead, but Lincoln Memorial quickly dug out of that hole.The Lady Railsplitters ran off a 9-1 rally highlighted by kills from five different players, to storm ahead, 20-15. Kills by Meg Taylor and Samantha Haynes closed the gap to three before LMU capped the match on a 5-0 scoring run. Kendra Gephart brought the match to a close with a set-clinching kill.
The Lady Railsplitters continue play the USC-Aiken Classic through today.
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