BELMONT, N.C. - The Emmanuel College women's volleyball team defeated Belmont Abbey College in the Conference Carolinas Semifinals on Saturday night. The Lions won by score of 18-25, 25-22, 26-24, 26-24 bringing their overall record to 19-12 and securing them a spot in the championship match tomorrow.
The Crusaders opened up the match with a dominant presence at the net. Several kills for the Crusaders combined with a string of EC errors to put Belmont Abbey ahead 9-2. Two attack errors followed for the Crusaders, allowing the Lions an opportunity to retaliate. Sophomores Hallie Richardson and Mia Cotton would each put down a kill to help close in on the lead. Another four point run followed for the Lions, including a big kill from Sophomore Taylor Roberts off of a free ball to bring the Lions within one point. The Crusaders would call a timeout before responding with three straight points. The teams would exchange another few points before a four point run for the Crusaders allowed them to take the first set, 25-18.
Action continued into the second set with Roberts opening up with a big block. Senior Jessica Gray would deliver an ace while more kills from Gray, Richardson, and Senior Mia McKensey followed. Despite the aggressive play, several EC errors helped the Crusaders stay within range. With a 7-6 lead, the Lions would follow with a service error. Belmont Abbey would then capitalize on their opportunity with four unanswered points to take an 11-7 lead. The Crusaders would continue to build upon that lead until a late five point run from the Lions tied the score up at 22-22, forcing the Crusaders to call a timeout. The timeout attempt to shift the momentum failed for the Crusaders as Taylor Roberts responded with a solo block. The momentum never slowed down for EC and they cruised to a 25-22 victory.
The third set featured a back and forth side-out game until a slew of Belmont Abbey Kills propelled them to a 14-10 lead. The Lions would utilize a timeout to capture some momentum and get back within one point. The Crusaders would push back again and roll to a 7 point lead at 22-16. A service error would give hope to the Lions who then followed up with a much needed block from Roberts and Senior Stephanie Hardy. Another Kill from Roberts forced a BAC timeout. Several more points were exchanged until a service ace from Senior Aysha Avery set the Lions up with set point. A BAC attack error would give the Lions the third set win, 26-24.
The fourth set opened with the Crusaders narrowly staying on top. After three BAC errors, Senior Gabby Ghassedi delivered an ace to steal the lead 12-11. Another Crusader attack error followed before Belmont Abbey called a timeout. The teams stayed neck and neck and continued to exchange leads until the Lions pulled ahead with a kill from Mia McKensey. Mia Cotton would put down the next ball to build their lead. The Crusaders would battle back and capitalize on several EC errors to take the lead 23-22 before EC called a timeout. Another mistake at the net put Belmont Abbey at set point, but Taylor Roberts would keep the Lions alive with a big kill. The Lions kept their composure and back to back kills from Gray secured Emmanuel's spot in the Conference Championship game.
Taylor Roberts led the Lions with 13 blocks and 9 kills.
The Lions continue action tomorrow, November 24th against King University in the Conference Carolinas Championship Game at 3:00pm.
For more news on Emmanuel College Athletics, visit goeclions.com.