SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Converse College volleyball team avenged a sweep at the hands of Mount Olive just nine days ago, defeating the Trojans in a five-set thriller on Friday evening inside Hannah Gymnasium. With that win, Converse clinched a spot in the 2019 Conference Carolinas Volleyball Championships.
Score: Mount Olive 2, Converse 3 (14-25, 28-26, 25-23, 18-25, 15-13)
Records: Mount Olive (8-15, 4-11 CC), Converse (10-21, 6-9 CC)
Location: Hannah Gymnasium, Converse College, Spartanburg, S.C.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Brittany Tepedino led the Valkyries with 15 kills, while Alexis Pitts (13) and Jasmine Finkley (10) also contributed double-digit kills.
- Kiara Cannon finished with eight kills while hitting an incredible .571.
- Lauren Tharrington (27) and Lottie Hutson (22) supplied the offense with a combined 49 assists.
- Kelsey Elliott anchored the defense with a team-high 15 digs.
- Converse hit .243 as a team.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Finkley crushed a kill from her middle position to bring the Valkyries to within 5-3 early in set one, but Mount Olive ripped off a massive 12-3 spurt to push ahead by double-digits (17-6). Converse was able to take four of the next five points to close the deficit to 18-10, but it was not enough as the Trojans handled set one, 25-14.
Converse came out strong in the second frame, building a 7-3 lead following a kill by Pitts. However, five in a row by UMO gave the Trojans their first lead of set (8-7). The Valkyries looked poised to take control of the frame after taking a 14-11 lead, but the Trojans continued to battle, knotting the set at 14-all.
From that point the game would see 11 ties and five lead changes as the clubs exchanged the next 24 points. With the contest deadlocked at 26-26, an attack error by the Trojans front line followed by a kill from Tepedino allowed the Vals to even the match, winning set two 28-26.
Set three was a battle from the beginning as each team looked to obtain a comfortable lead. Mount Olive did just that, taking a 20-14 advantage late in the set. However, Converse showed its resilience, using a clutch 8-2 run to even the frame at 22-all.
After UMO took the next point, Converse tallied the final three, capped off by a service ace from Tepedino, giving the Vals a 25-23 win and 2-1 match lead.
Mount Olive came out strong in the pivotal fourth set, racing out to a 13-5 lead. However, a kill by Finkley along with the beautiful service game of Tharrington, sparked a 7-0 run by the Purple and Gold, pulling the Valkyries to within a single point (13-12).
Unfortunately, that was as close as the score would get as Mount Olive regained the momentum with five of six points before eventually taking the set, 25-18.
In the decisive fifth set it was the Trojans that came out strong, jumping out to a 4-1 lead. Back-to-back errors by Mount Olive allowed Converse to pull to within 4-3, but a run of 4-2 gave UMO an 8-5 lead as the teams switched sides.
Mount Olive's Eziakonwa connected on a kill to put the visitors ahead 11-9, but Converse tallied four in a row in the most crucial of times, pushing ahead 13-11 late in the set. The Trojans were able to bring the score to within one on two separate occasions, but consecutive kills by Pitts allowed Converse to take the set, 15-13, and the match, 3-2.
Converse will have little time to celebrate as it turns its attention to Belmont Abbey tomorrow afternoon. That game is scheduled to get underway at 2 p.m.