RALEIGH, N.C. -- The East Division second-seed Meredith College Avenging Angels downed third-seed William Peace 3-1 (21-25, 29-27, 25-21, 25-14) in a classic battle of the Raleigh rivals to advance to the USA South Conference Volleyball Tournament semifinals. Hailey Long and Caroline Corey combined for 32 kills, and Bailey Lucas distributed 28 assists to lead the Angels to their next match.
The East top-seed Averett University Cougars will host semifinal and championship action Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9. MCVB's pairing with the Scots is slated to begin at 4 p.m. in the Grant Center. The Cougars follow with the Huntingdon/Covenant winner at 6:30 p.m.
MCVB opened up with a 5-2 advantage, but the Pacers scored the next three points to even the score. Cathy Delano landed a kill to put the Angels back in front, but WPUs Mya Parks gave the ball back to Peace to edge into the lead. Back-to-back points from Parks led the Pacers on a 6-1 rally to give the visitors a 14-9 lead, and WPU extended that lead to six before a service misstep let Meredith back in the game. The Angels chipped away at their deficit pulling to within two at 19-17 and scored three consecutive points later to get as close as one. But Pacer Abby Benton landed three kills in the final series to give her team a 1-0 match lead against their rivals.
Set two featured eight lead changes, four set points, and the score was tied on 18 occasions before the Avenging Angels finally put WPU away to even the match 1-1.
Meredith maintained the momentum early in the third stanza, scoring seven of the first eight points and continued to put the pressure on WPU. Caroline Corey landed a pair of kills and William Peace lost two more points from unforced errors to drive MCVB to an 11-4 advantage. But the Pacers rallied with a 5-1 run to force Head MCVB Coach Fiona Barkley to call for a timeout. The break worked as the Avenging Angels scored seven of the next nine to hold a 20-11 lead.
But the battle continued as Peace pulled back to within four on a 7-2 run. Avery Bowman found Corey on the outside, but a pair of service missteps for MCVB allowed Peace back in play. Kenzie Moore and Bowman stuffed Parks, and Ally Copenhaver finished off the set for a 2-1 Angels advantage.
Early in the fourth Peace remained close until four consecutive MCVB kills from Corey, Delano, and Long ignited the crowd. WPU remained steady scoring five of the next seven, but Long landed three consecutive service winners to maintain the pressure. With Lauren Phillips at the line, Meredith scored five consecutive points to a match-point, and Delano finished off the win.
Corey added 10 digs to her 15 kills, and Lucas posted another Angels double-double adding 10 as well. Phillips led all with 23, adding five assists, and Samantha Smith grabbed 11.
The Avenging Angels will travel to Danville, Va., Friday to face off with the West Division's top-seed Maryville Scots, undefeated in conference action this season. The semifinal match is slated to begin at 4 p.m. on the campus of East Division one-seed Averett University. The Cougars will pair off with the quarterfinal winner between Huntingdon and Covenant.
USA South Conference Volleyball Tournament