DANVILLE, Va. -- The Averett Cougars defeated Meredith College for the second time this season in Wednesday night's USA South action, ending a seven-match winning streak. AU stripped MCVB of their first conference match last month in four sets and downed the Angels 3-1 (25-20, 18-25, 20-25, 22-25) again tonight.
The East Division's top two teams were holding at one USA South loss apiece heading into tonight's contest, but the win gives the Cougars top billing heading into the second round of conference play.
Meredith opened the match with a first set battle that kept fans on their toes. The momentum shifted back and forth between the two teams until MCVB finally made a breakthrough on a 3-0 rally capped off by a kill from Ally Copenhaver. The AU head coach called for a timeout to settle his team, but Meredith scored three of the next five to remain in the lead. Another Cougar timeout returned the Angels to the court for a stuff from Cathy Delano and Avery Bowman to hold onto the momentum.
Bowman and Delano teamed up for another point, and Haily Long finished off the set with a pair of winners from the right side to give MCVB a 1-0 lead.
Meredith appeared to be in control of the second set through a 10-6 advantage. An AU timeout led to a Meredith service error en route to a 4-0 rally to even the score at 10s. The control continued to float back-and-forth across the net, until an 8-1 Cougar rally unsettled the Angels and tied the match.
The teams battled in the third but Averett outlasted the Angels once more, finishing the set on a 11-3 rally to take a 2-1 lead.
MCVB remained in the fight throughout the fourth set and held a 12-11 lead midway through the frame. But four unforced errors led to a five-point swing to put AU back in the lead for good. The Avenging Angels would even the score on five occasions but would never find a way to hold back the hosts.
Lauren Phillips led the Angels with 24 digs, and Caroline Corey and Copenhaver recorded 11 kills apiece. Bowman notched another double-double with 19 assists, 14 digs, and Lauren Grodi recorded her third on the season with 16 assists, 11 digs.
AU's Lauren Montren led all with a dozen kills, and McKenzie Miller posted 37 assists.
Meredith hosts a USA South tri-match Saturday beginning with Pfeiffer University at Noon. Just prior to the 4 p.m. match versus the Greensboro Pride, Head Coach Fiona Barkley and her squad will celebrate the careers of six seniors. Pfeiffer and GC will play a neutral site match at 2 p.m.