VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. â€" The Converse College volleyball team split a pair of games in the Elizabeth City State Tournament to begin the regular season on Saturday, September 2. The Valkyries dominated ECSU in the first match, sweeping the Vikings before dropping the nightcap to Slippery Rock by the final of 3-1.
GAME ONE: Converse 3, ECSU 0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-14)
The early parts of set one was a back-and-forth affair with the two teams trading the initial 14 points. Two quick scores by the Vikings gave the host team a 9-7 lead. However, a crucial 10-1 burst from the Valkyries, fueled by three service aces by Kaylee Owens, put the Purple and Gold comfortably ahead 17-10 late.
ECSU trimmed the deficit to 24-20, but it was too little, too late as an unforced service error gave Converse the 1-0 lead in the match.
The Valkyries wasted no time in set two, racing out to an early 8-2 advantage. Elizabeth City St. made a small push with a mini 5-1 run, but just like set one, Converse used a massive run, this time 9-2, to push ahead 18-9. CC collected seven of the next 12 points to take the set 25-14 and a commanding 2-0 match lead.
After running out to a six-all tie in set three, the Valkyries ran off nine of the next 12 to earn a 15-9 lead. However, ECSU would not go quietly, using a 5-1 run of its own to cut the deficit to 16-14.Â Little did the Vikings know that would be the last point they scored as Converse took the final nine points of the set to win the match 3-0.
Kenzie Schmaltz paced the Valkyries with nine kills and nine digs, while hitting .375. Kiara Cannon and Alexis Pitts added eight kills apiece in the winning effort. Jordan Mrkvicka dished out a game-high 10 assists. Ansley Hodge and Sydney Allen contributed eight digs each to help anchor the defense.
GAME TWO: Converse 1, Slippery Rock 3 (22-25, 25-23, 19-25, 11-235)
Slippery Rock jumped out to a fast 13-5 lead in set one, but Converse showed patience and resiliency, battling back to knot the contest at 22-all deep into the set. However, three straight unforced errors by CC allowed the Rock to take the set 25-22 and a 1-0 match lead.
Set two was more evenly matched throughout its entirety as the two teams traded the first 40 points. With the score deadlocked at 20-all, Slippery Rock pushed ahead 23-21 with a quick 3-1 spurt. With their collective backs against the wall the Valkyries, behind the serving of Pitts, reeled off four consecutive points to take the set 25-23 and knot the match at 1-1.
Set three mirrored the second as a seesaw battle ensued from the start. A block assist from Schmaltz and Kaylee Owens tied the set at 11, but a run of 12-5 gave Rock a comfortable lead of 23-16. From that point it was all academic as SRU took the two points needed to capture the set and the 2-1 advantage in the match.
Set four was all Slippery Rock as the Valkyries could not seem to get anything going offensively, dropping the frame by a score of 25-11 and the match 3-1.
Converse will be back in action tomorrow, finishing the final two games of the tournament. The Valkyries will play Alaska-Fairbanks at 9 a.m. before matching up against Kutztown at noon.