GREENWOOD – The Lander volleyball team shook off an opening loss to snap a six-match skid on Friday afternoon in the first day of the PBC/SAC Crossover at Horne Arena.
Lander (10-6) fell to Carson-Newman 22-25, 25-27, 24-26 before defeating Lincoln Memorial 25-23, 25-14, 25-21.
"All in all, we finished the day really strong," said head coach Ashley White. "We came out [in the second match] and I think the girls finally decided to step up and show who they are take a little pride in the uniform they're wearing. They just came out and played."
The Bearcats led 9-8 in the first set of the opening match against Carson-Newman, but a 7-1 run sparked a 25-22 first set win for the Eagles. After falling behind 7-3 in the second set, Lander rattled off nine consecutive points to take the lead and held a 22-16 advantage late in the set. However, Carson-Newman responded by scoring 11 of the next 14 points to claim a 27-25 set win. Down 2-0, it was Lander's turn to rally with its back to the wall. Trailing 24-21 in the third set, the Bearcats got a kill from Reilly Kuenstler and a pair of Eagle mistakes to tie the score at 24-24. An Eagle kill and a Bearcat attack error, however, ended Lander's comeback chances as Carson-Newman secured a 3-0 win.
Kirstin Martindale led all Bearcats with 11 kills and added 14 digs, while Hannah McManus tallied a match-high 30 digs. Sophia Perkins finished with a team-high 18 assists and 14 digs. Nell Copeland chipped in 14 digs and 12 assists in the loss.
Lander got back on the winning track in its second match of the day, jumping out to a 9-1 lead over Lincoln Memorial. The Railsplitters used a 10-1 run of their own to pull within 20-17, but a Kuenstler kill gave the Bearcats the first set win. Another fast start in the second set propelled Lander to a 9-2 advantage in the second set. After a 3-0 run from LMU made the score 16-13 Bearcats, Lander closed out the match with nine of the final 10 points to pull ahead 2-0. With the scored tied at 20-20 in the third set, the Bearcats turned to Martindale, who registered three kills in Lander's final five points to seal the match.
Reyonia Whipple blasted a career-high 14 kills in the win over LMU. The senior also passed Tarryn Angermeier for second-place on the all-time total blocks list at Lander. Martindale added 10 kills, while Perkins posted 26 assists and 16 digs. McManus led all players with 23 digs in the match.
Lander will be back in action tomorrow afternoon with a 12:00 p.m. match against Mars Hill and a 4:00 p.m. tilt against Tusculum.