GREENWOOD – The Lander volleyball team earned its first season sweep of Flagler in program history as the Bearcats claimed a 3-1 win on Saturday afternoon in front of 460 fans at Finis Horne Arena, the third-largest crowd in program history. The Bearcats defeated the Saints 31-33, 25-21, 26-24, 25-17.
"Great match," said head coach Ashley White. "You knew coming out of the first set, when we battled like that, that this was going to be a fun match to play. The girls really honed in after that first set. They started producing, they started being really disciplined and they started to play with a purpose, which is what we've been trying to do all season. That really showed in the second, third and fourth sets."
Lander (20-6, 6-4 PBC) started strong, opening the first set with a 7-0 run before the Saints (10-14, 4-6 PBC) responded by scoring 14 of the next 21 points, punctuated by a 4-0 run of their own. The teams would battle to 13 ties and five lead changes for the remainder of the set, exchanging eight consecutive kills before a Bearcat error allowed Flagler to claim a 33-31 win.
The second set opened with Flagler charging to an 8-3 lead, but the Bearcats answered with seven consecutive points, led by a pair of kills from Kyra Ross. Lander held a 21-17 lead late in the set and held off a Saint rally as a Hannah Hritz kill ended the set and evened the match.
The Bearcats raced out to a 15-7 lead in set three, courtesy of an 11-1 run that featured seven Lander kills. The Saints fought back to tie the score at 24-24, but the Bearcats secured the set with a kill from Krafka and a Flagler error.
Lander never trailed in the fourth set, breaking open a 3-3 tie with an 18-4 run. Flagler put together a comeback attempt, pulling to within 23-15 before the Bearcats clinched the win as Reilly Kunestler ended the match with a kill.
Krafka, Ross and Madilyn Reed each finished with double-doubles. Krafka led the team with 20 kills, while Ross notched career highs with 15 kills and 16 digs. Reed tied her career high with 55 assists in the win. Hannah McManus posted 25 digs, while Kunestler and Hannah Hritz each recorded 11 kills. Boo Luther finished with 12 digs.
The Bearcats host Georgia College next Friday at 7:00 p.m.