SPARTANBURG, S.C.- The Converse College (5-18) split a pair of games against Lander (17-4) and Columbia (0-14) during a tri-match inside Hannah Gymnasium on Tuesday evening. The Valkyries were swept by Lander (25-13, 25-18, 25-23) in the opening match, before returning the favor with a 3-0 win (25-15, 25-13, 25-15) in the nightcap.
GAME ONE: CONVERSE 0, LANDER 3
Set one belonged to the Bearcats as they built a 9-2 lead early. Four straight by the Valkyries narrowed the deficit to 9-6, but a 6-2 spurt from Lander pushed the lead back to seven (15-8). After Converse took five of the next six to pull within three (16-13), Lander collected the next nine points to take set one by the final score of 25-13.
Lauren Tharrington got the Vals off to a hot start in set two, tallying the first three points from the service line, but a 6-3 run by LU knotted the frame at 6-all. From that point the contest became back-and-forth as the two teams traded the next 10 points. However, with the score at 12-11 in favor of the visitors, a massive 8-0 run gave Lander a comfortable lead late. The Valkyries attempted a comeback but fell 25-18.
Trying to force a crucial fourth set, Converse came out firing on all cylinders in set three. A seesaw battle had the two teams deadlocked 22-22 late in the set. However, Lander took three of the next four points to claim the set 25-23 and the match, 3-0.
A trio of Valkyries tallied six kills to lead the team, while Tharrington dished out 17 assists. Elizabeth Yohe was able to control the defense with 11 digs.
GAME TWO: CONVERSE 3, COLUMBIA 0
Converse was full of energy to start the opening set, racing out to a massive 10-1 lead. A 5-2 burst by Columbia pulled the Koalas to within seven (13-6), but the Valkyries never let up, taking a 1-0 match lead with a set win of 25-15.
Set two was an even affair early as the two teams traded the initial 14 points. However, with the score even at 7-7, Converse put it on cruise control with a big 15-5 advantage over the next 20 points, taking a commanding 2-0 match lead with a 25-13 set two win.
After Columbia took three of the first five points of the third set, Pitts sparked a 13-5 run that put the Valkyries ahead 15-8 midway through the pivotal frame. The Koalas pulled to within five points (19-14), but a cool 6-1 run by Converse ended the threat of a comeback, giving the Purple and Gold the sweep.
Kiara Cannon and Alexis Pitts led the Vals with nine kills each, while Tharrington facilitated the offense once more, dishing out a game-high 20 assists. Tyra Murray anchored the defense with eight digs.
Converse will return to the court on Saturday, October 13, playing host to Limestone in a pivotal Conference Carolinas match. First serve is scheduled for 2 p.m.