FLORENCE, S.C. – Junior outside hitter Brittany Tepedino put together two impressive matches, posting double-doubles in each but it was not enough as the Converse College (0-6) volleyball team dropped a pair of contests during day one of the Francis Marion Invitational on Friday, September 13. The Valkyries were defeated 3-0 by FMU in match one before falling to West Alabama in a thrilling five-set affair in the nightcap.
Scores: FMU 3, Converse 0; W. Alabama 3, Converse 2
Records: FMU (4-1), West Ala. (1-6), Converse (0-6)
Location: Smith University Center, Florence, S.C.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Tepedino posted 14 kills and 12 digs versus FMU before tallying 15 kills and 20 digs against UWA.
- Freshman Lottie Hutson was equally impressive, contributing her first two career doubles-doubles after lacing the Patriots with 13 assists and 10 digs before earning a career-high 30 assists to go along with 13 digs against the Tigers.
- Sophomore defensive specialist Kelsey Elliott tacked on 24 digs in match two.
- Sophomore Elizabeth Yohe earned a double-double in the UWA match with 11 kills and 12 digs.
- The Valkyries hit .185 as a team.
HOW IT HAPPENED – Game One vs. FMU (24-26, 21-25, 21-25)
Both teams came out firing to begin the opening set, trading the initial 20 points. With the score knotted at 10-all, Francis Marion took advantage of Valkyrie miscues, reeling off three straight and eight of 12 to take an 18-14 advantage.
A kill by Tepedino fueled a momentous 6-1 run by Converse, giving the Vals a 20-19 lead, its first since the score was 9-8 earlier in the frame. From that point the game became a seesaw battle as the score ran out to 24-24. A service error and attack error by the Valkyries gave FMU the 26-24 win.
The second frame saw an unprecedented 15 ties and 11 lead changes as neither team could gain an offensive advantage over the other. However, with the score tied at 20 each, Francis Marion ripped off three in a row to put the pressure on the Converse defense.
Kiara Cannon supplied a kill to make the score 23-21, but FMU tacked on the final two points of the set to take a commanding 2-0 match lead.
Francis Marion raced out to a 9-6 lead in set three, but a 5-2 run fueled by the attacking presence of Tepedino put Converse ahead 12-11. Just as the first two sets happened, the third became a plethora of ties over the final stretch. A block assist from Tepedino and Jasmine Finkley brought the Valkyries to within a single point (21-20), but FMU took four of the next five to close out the set and match.
HOW IT HAPPENED – Game Two vs. West Ala. (23-25, 20-25, 25-17, 25-16, 12-15)
West Alabama jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead early in the opening frame, but Converse returned the favor with six in a row, capped off by a service ace from Yohe, to take its first advantage of the contest (6-5).
From that point the two teams traded points with the score being tied on nine occasions. With the set deadlocked at 18, UWA took three points in a row to push ahead 21-18 late. However, Converse showed its resiliency, ripping off a crucial 5-1 run to take a 23-22 advantage. Unfortunately, the Tigers took the final three points of the set.
Lauren Tharrington gave Converse a 4-3 lead in the second set with an ace, but West Alabama quickly erased that deficit, building a 13-9 spread. A kill by Cannon helped Converse trim the deficit to 17-15, but that would be as close as the score would be with the Tigers finishing the frame on an 8-5 mini run, taking a 2-0 match lead.
With their collective backs against the wall, Converse came out firing on all cylinders in the vital third set. The Tigers took a minimal 4-3 lead, but an unexpected kill by Hutson triggered an 8-2 run by the Valkyries, pushing their lead to 11-6.
The Tigers tried to claw their way back in the set with two quick points, but Converse's attack game went on full display as it smashed its way to a massive 23-14 lead. From that point it was all academic as the Purple and Gold earned the last two points needed in order to force a pivotal fourth set.
Trying to force the all-decisive fifth set, Converse fell behind 6-3 early in the fourth. However, a Tepedino and Cannon kill started and finished a 6-2 burst by CC, giving the Vals their first ead at 9-8. That lead grew to 17-12 following a service ace by Tepedino, forcing a timeout from the Tigers.
Although West Alabama collected the first point out of the timeout, the brief hiatus did nothing in terms of momentum as Converse powered its way to a 25-16 set win, tallying kills from five different players while sending the match to the fifth set.
In a race to score 15 points the set was evenly paced as the teams exchanged the first 20 points. Unfortunately, West Alabama used a 5-2 run to finish off the set and match, denying Converse the comeback bid.
Converse will return to action tomorrow morning during the second and final day of the FMU Invitational. The Valkyries will face Eckerd at 11 a.m. before taking on UNC Pembroke at 3 p.m.