GREENWOOD – The Lander volleyball team rallied from an early deficit to top UNC Pembroke, 3-1, on Monday night in Finis Horne Arena. The Bearcats defeated the Braves 23-25, 25-19, 25-11, 25-19.
Lander (18-4, 4-2 PBC) remained unbeaten at home on the season, while UNC Pembroke (7-15, 0-6 PBC) dropped its 38th consecutive conference match.
"Good win for us at home," said head coach Ashley White. "We played a really tough opponent tonight, Pembroke came out [strong], but we got our stuff together and did what we had to do and handled business. I think we're ready to roll through this second round [of conference matches] coming up."
The Bearcats jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set, but UNCP rallied to take its first lead at 9-8. Lander answered quickly with four consecutive points and the teams battled to a 23-23 tie late in the set before the Braves claimed the first point with back-to-back kills.
Lander broke open a 7-7 tie in the second set as a pair of Hannah Hritz kills sparked a 6-0 Bearcat run that UNCP could not recover from. The Bearcats led the remainder of the set and finished with a four-point flourish, capped by a kill from Kaitlyn Krafka, to even the match at 1-1.
The Braves scored the first point of the third set, but never led again as Lander pulled away for a 25-11 win and a 2-1 lead.
Lander used runs of 4-0 and 5-0 to take a 15-7 lead in set four. UNC Pembroke fought back to pull within three points, but the Bearcats used three kills from Krafka in the final five points to claim the match.
Krafka posted a career-high 22 kills, while Hritz added 13 on the night. Madilyn Reed recorded 48 assists and Hannah McManus led the Bearcats with 18 digs. Reilly Kuenstler finished with 11 kills and five digs, while Kyra Ross tallied 11 digs.
The Bearcats will face UNC Pembroke on the road Friday night.