GREENWOOD – The Lander volleyball team twice rallied from a set down on Friday night, but fell 3-2 to Flagler in the Peach Belt Conference opener in front of 403 fans at Horne Arena.
Lander (10-3, 0-1 PBC) returns to action next Friday against Francis Marion. The Saints (8-4, 1-0 PBC) earned their first win over the Bearcats since 2017.
Hannah Hritz led the Bearcats with 18 kills, while Kyra Ross added 17 kills and 13 digs. Reilly Kuenstler finished with 13 kills and hit .308 on the night. Madilyn Reed finished with 47 assists and 12 digs, while Hannah McManus posted 31 digs. Boo Luther recorded 18 digs on the night.
Flagler broke a 23-23 tie in the first set with back-to-back points to take a 1-0 lead, but Lander responded by winning a grueling second set to even the match. In a set that featured nine ties, the Bearcats erased a 23-20 deficit and used kills from Deona Mims and Hritz to close out a 27-25 win.
With their backs to the wall after dropping the third set, the Bearcats used an 8-0 run early in the fourth set to seize control and cruise to a 25-10 win, forcing a fifth and decisive set. Flagler took a 7-4 lead in the fifth set, but a pair of Ross kills highlighted a 5-1 run for Lander to put the Bearcats up 9-8. However, Flagler tallied seven of the night's final nine points to take the victory.
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