The Presbyterian College volleyball team held off a furious rally by Winthrop, which won the third and fourth set to force a decisive fifth, winning the final set 15-7 to earn the hard-fought 3-2 victory in Big South action Saturday afternoon at Templeton Center. PC took the first two sets by a score of 25-15 piece, but dropped the next two by a score of 22-25 each. Mikayla Register was just two shy of her career-best with 25 digs.
A close first set early, PC used a 6-1 run to build a 10-5 lead. After Winthrop cut the margin to three at 11-8, the Blue Hose fired off the next eight of 11 points to extend the lead to 19-11. PC held the seven to eight points margin the rest of the way, taking the eventual 25-15 win.
Behind three kills to open the second set, the Blue Hose jumped out to a 4-0 lead, extending that to 10-2. Winthrop responded with five unanswered, three straight coming off Sammie-Jo Ah-Hong kills, to cut the margin to 10-7. Ahead by just three again at 14-11, PC outscored Winthrop, 7-2, to extend the lead to 21-13. Both teams traded points but the Blue Hose had too big of a lead and finished with the 25-15 second set win.
The third set saw several ties early, including at 11-11 off an Erin Eulitz kill. Winthrop rallied with three straight and took its largest lead of the set at 14-11. Samantha Del Toro’s kill cut the margin to two, 15-13, but Winthrop went on a 5-1 run to build a 20-14 lead. PC responded with five unanswered, which included two Halle Tripp kills and a Sara Rogers’ ace, to make it 20-19. Eulitz tied the set at 21-21 off her seventh kill of the match,, but Winthrop came back with two straight to take the 23-21 lead. Ahead 23-23, Winthrop put together two unanswered to take the third set, 25-22.
Another close set in the fourth, PC and Winthrop were tied at 7-7 before kills from Eulitz and Del Toro helped the Blue Hose build a 10-7 lead. Winthrop came back to take a 12-11 lead, but it was PC with another 4-0 run, highlighted by a block assist from Rogers and Ashton Stewart, to build a 15-12 lead. Trailing 17-15, The Eagles rattled off four straight and took a two-point lead themselves, 19-17. Winthrop continued to increase its lead, going up by 23-19 before PC rallied with three to make it 23-22. The Eagles took it at the end with back to back kills and won set four, 25-22, forcing a fifth and deciding set.
Down 3-2 in the fifth set PC scored eight unanswered, capped by three kills from Sierra Davis, to storm ahead 10-3. Winthrop cut it to 10-5 but scored just two more points as the Blue Hose continued their fifth set dominance, taking the 15-7 set and match win.
Players of the Match
Sierra Davis led a group of three Blue Hose with double-digit kills with 16. Erin Eulitz followed with 14, with Samantha Del Toro adding 11. Sara Rogers added 41 assists, while Mikayla Register posted 25 digs. Del Toro paced PC in hitting percentage with .318, collecting just four errors in five sets of action. She also added two service aces, just one behind Rogers with her career-high tying three.
Emma Weakland led Winthrop with 16 kills, followed by Sammie-Jo Ah-Hong with 13. Carlie Skelton posted 29 digs, with Hannah Lackey adding 27 assists.
Stats of the Match
PC recorded a .471 in the fifth set, with 10 kills and just two errors, recovering from a .036 performance in set four. The Blue Hose won after holding Winthrop to -.067 in the fifth set and just two kills. Even in the third and fourth set losses, PC lead in kills, posting double-digits in both.
The Blue Hose finished with 55 kills, just one shy of their career-high, with the 51 assists only one off the season mark as well. Winthrop posted 42 kills and 41 assists. The Eagles had a .080 hitting percentage, compared to .146 for PC, and had five fewer aces, 3-8. Blocks were even at nine, while the Eagles held the dig advantage, 85-71.
With 25 digs against Winthrop Mikayla moved into second in PC’s Division I record book and became the third Blue Hose to eclipse the 1,000-career dig mark. She has 1,024. Sara Rogers posted 41 assists, marking the ninth match of her career, and seventh of the season, she has recorded at least 40. Rogers also recorded a career-high 11 attacks against Winthrop
PC improves to 4-16 overall, 2-4 in the Big South, while Winthrop drops to 9-14, 0-7.
The Blue Hose head up the road to UNC Asheville, Tuesday, Oct. 18, for a 7 p.m., match, while the Eagles host Liberty Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m.
How to follow
Fans can follow match updates at www.UNCABulldogs.com and on twitter at @BlueHoseVolley.