FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University battled mightily but fell in three sets to Lander University 25-23, 25-22, 25-20, Friday evening (Oct. 4) in Peach Belt Conference volleyball action.
FMU (8-7, 0-1) will play host to conference-leading and unbeaten USC Aiken (14-0, 2-0) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Smith University Center.
Sophomore 6-2 middle blocker Iyanla Thigpen led the Patriots with nine kills and five blocks, while sophomore 6-2 middle blocker Lily Walton added six kills and junior 6-2 hitter Kayla Arthur registered five kills and three blocks. Sophomore setter Finn Millians dished out 28 assists and dug up 12 balls, while senior libero Natalie Vaughn recorded a season-high 27 digs.
Senior Kyra Ross led Lander (11-3, 1-1) with 18 kills and nine digs. Bearcat setter Madilyn Reed handed out 29 assists and libero Hannah McManus dug up 21 balls.
The opening set featured 10 ties, including a final deadlock at 22-22. Lander took a 24-22 advantage before Walton pounded out a kill off an assist from Millians to draw the Patriots to within one, but Lander scored the decisive point on the following sequence.
The Bearcats jumped out to a 21-11 lead in the second set. However, the Patriots rallied with a 10-1 run behind the serving of Millians and three kills from Thigpen to close to within 22-21. Later trailing 24-22, an attack error by FMU gave Lander the final point.
In the third set, a serving ace by Vaughn provided Francis Marion an early 9-5 lead. A kill by Millians kept the margin at four, 11-7. Lander responded with a 5-0 spurt and the Bearcats would not trail again. Francis Marion closed the margin to 21-20 on a kill by Walton, but Lander registered the final four points of the match.
Post-match comments from FMU head coach Lauren Baufield
Lander University def. Francis Marion Univ. 25-23,25-22,25-20
Lander University (11-3, 1-1) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Kyra Ross 18-1-2;
Deona Mims 7-0-2; Reilly Kuenstler 7-0-5; Hannah Hritz 6-0-0; Maya
Walker 3-0-0; Alexa Barral 1-0-2; Madilyn Reed 1-0-0; Boo Luther
0-1-0; Totals 43-2-6.0. (Assists) - Madilyn Reed 29. (Dig leaders) -
Hannah McManus 21; Madilyn Reed 14; Corey Nichols 10; Boo Luther 9;
Kyra Ross 9
Francis Marion Univ. (8-7, 0-1) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Iyanla Thigpen
9-0-5; Lily Walton 6-0-1; Kayla Arthur 5-0-3; Alyssa Hansen 4-0-2;
Courtney Abdur-Rahim 4-1-0; Finn Millians 2-1-0; Adison Minor 1-0-0;
Natalie Vaughn 1-1-0; Totals 32-3-7.0. (Assists) - Finn Millians 28.
(Dig leaders) - Natalie Vaughn 27; Finn Millians 12; Courtney
Abdur-Rahim 10; Alyssa Hansen 9; Kayla Arthur 8
Site: Florence, SC (Smith University Center)
Date: 10/04/19 Attend: 181 Time: 1:34
Referees: Roque Urena (R1), Glenn Goudy (R2), Dan Jampole (L), Dewey Capps (L)