FLORENCE, S.C. – The Converse College volleyball team dropped a pair of games at the Francis Marion Tournament on Friday evening inside the Smith University Center. The Valkyries were upended in straight sets by host FMU to start the day before falling in the nightcap to Newberry College.
GAME ONE: CONVERSE 0, FRANCIS MARION 3 (14-25, 21-25, 23-25)
Set one was fairly competitive early on as Francis Marion gathered a two-point lead (6-4) through the first 10 points. However, a massive 14-3 run by the Patriots put them ahead 20-7 and allowed them to coast to the 25-14 first set win.
Francis Marion started fast in set two, jumping out to a solid 9-4 lead, forcing an early timeout by the Valkyries. That lead grew to eight on three different occasions following the brief hiatus. Down 19-11 late, Converse used a mini 4-1 run to cut the deficit to 20-15, but could not overcome the early troubles, dropping the set 25-21 while falling behind 2-0 in the match.
Set three was back-and-forth as the two teams traded the initial 26 points. With the score knotted at 13-all, two unforced errors by the Patriots gave Converse its biggest lead of the afternoon (15-13). The two-point spread continued all the way to 19-17 before FMU reeled off four straight and six of seven to push ahead 23-20. Once again unforced errors haunted the Patriots and allowed Converse to get back in the set, deadlocked at 23. Unfortunately, the Patriots took the next two points to take the set 25-23 and the match, 3-0.
Kenzie Schmaltz led the way once again on the offensive end, posting 12 kills, while Jordan Mrkvicka dished out a team –high 12 assists to go along with 10 assists, earning her first double-double of the season. Kassie Burkett anchored the defense with 13 digs.
GAME TWO: CONVERSE 0, NEWBERRY 3 (25-15, 25-14, 25-21)
Newberry controlled set one from the beginning, jumping out to a quick 14-7 advantage. That lead grew to as many as 11 (24-13) before the Wolves finished the set with a 25-15 win.
Set two was much of the same as unforced errors and bad possessions plagued the Valkyries. Newberry scored six of the first seven points and never looked back, cruising to a commanding 2-0 match lead with a frame two win of 25-14.
After trading the first 10 points of the third stanza, the Wolves pushed ahead with a mini 4-1 spurt. However, Converse used a 6-2 run of its own to capture its first lead of the contest (12-11). That one-point margin carried late into the set (20-19) before Newberry closed the frame on a 6-1 run, ending the night for the Valkyries.
Converse will be back in action on Tuesday, September 12 as it travels to Tigerville, S.C. to face the Crusaders of North Greenville. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.