GREENWOOD – The Lander volleyball team fell behind 2-1 on Friday night, but rallied to knock off West Georgia, 3-2, in a thrilling five-set affair in front of 359 fans at Finis Horne Arena.
Lander (8-1) defeated the Wolves (4-6) 18-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 23-21.
"The fight and the heart our girls showed tonight was unreal," said head coach Ashley White. "If this is what the rest of the season has in store, I can't wait."
After dropping the opening set, Lander broke a 14-14 tie with a 6-2 run to surge ahead and even the match. The Wolves answered with a narrow victory in set two and, with its back to the wall, Lander closed the fourth set on a 5-1 run, highlighted by a pair of kills from Deona Mims to force a fifth and decisive set.
In a nip-and-tuck fifth set, Kyra Ross's kill staved off match point for UWG and tied the score at 18-18. Two points later, Mims delivered another kill to prevent the Wolves from clinching the match and Kunestler followed suit with another Bearcat kill two points later. West Georgia scored the next point to move ahead 21-20, but a pair of kills from Kuenstler and the final swing from Ross sealed the victory for Lander.
Madilyn Reed orchestrated the Bearcat offense en route to a career-high 63 assists, while Ross tallied a career-high 23 kills and added 13 digs. Hannah McManus recorded a team-high 34 digs for the Bearcats. Mims finished with 17 kills, while Kuenstler posted 12 kills and hit .455 on the evening. Boo Luther registered 13 digs for the Bearcats.
Lander travels to Belmont, N.C. on Saturday to face Belmont Abbey and Winston-Salem.
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