Nov. 19, 2010

Courtesy of Wingate

Wingate, N.C.----For the third consecutive season, the top-seeded Wingate University Bulldogs swept their way through quarterfinal action of the NCAA Southeast Regional. Wingate swept the Bobcats of Lees-McRae, winning 25-12, 25-23 and 25-18 to advance to its third straight regional semifinal match. The 25th-ranked Bulldogs have now won 27 consecutive matches this season. The Bobcats end their season at 25-8 overall.

"This may have been the best crowd to ever attend a volleyball match here," Wingate head coach Shelton Collier says. "That certainly added to the excitement and enthusiasm of the match. We are happy to have won tonight, and I know our players are really looking forward to the opportunity to keep playing this weekend.

Freshman outside hitter Cory McGowan (Pittsburgh, Pa.) had 12 kills, 11 digs and four blocks to lead the Wingate attack. Senior middle blocker Rebecca Bloemer (Louisville, Ky.) added 10 kills, four blocks and a .429 hitting percentage. Junior setter Liz Willis (Raleigh, N.C.) had 19 assists and seven digs, while senior setter Amanda Clark (Timberlake, N.C.) had 14 assists and nine digs.

Senior middle blocker Whitney Justice (Connelly Springs, N.C.) had 12 kills to lead the Lees-McRae attack. Freshman middle blocker Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas) added eight kills for the Bobcats. Sophomore setter Megan Mitchell (Minden, Nev.) had 22 assists and 12 digs, while junior outside hitter Megan Epperson (St. John, Ind.) collected a match-high 13 digs.

Kills from seniors Stormi Gale (Richmond, Texas) and Lauren Billo (Orland Park, Ill.), along with a Lees-McRae error gave Wingate a 15-8 lead in the opening frame. The `Dogs used a 4-0 run to take a 21-10 lead, getting kills from Gale and McGowan to spark the flurry. A kill from sophomore middle blocker Grace Krauser (Louisville, Ky.) made it 24-12. The Bulldogs capped the set on an LMC error. Wingate hit .433 in the opening frame, while the Bobcats hit -.071.

A Gale kill put Wingate on top 17-10 in the second set. The Bobcats fought back, scoring nine of the next 11 points to tie the set at 19. Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Clendenin (Statesville, N.C.) had back-to-back kills, while a Wingate error tied the set. A kill from Gale, followed by a Lees-McRae error and a block from Krauser and McGowan put the `Dogs on top 22-19. Justice answered with a kill to trim the lead to one at 22-21. A Bloemer kill pushed the lead to 24-22, while Bloemer would go ahead to cap the set with another kill.

Back-to-back kills from Justice gave the Bobcats a 13-11 lead in the third set. The Bulldogs fought back, scoring the next four points to take a one-point lead on a block from Bloemer and Krauser. A kill from Fox cut the Wingate lead to 17-16. The Bulldogs got kills from Gale, McGowan and redshirt freshman middle blocker Anna Hilton (Hickory, N.C.) to take a 20-16 lead. A Fox kill and Wingate error made it 20-18. The `Dogs would score the final five points of the match. McGowan got it started with a kill, while Krauser followed with a kill. Wingate claimed the match on three consecutive Lees-McRae errors.

Wingate hit .270 for the match, with 42 kills and 12 errors in 111 swings. Lees-McRae hit .055 with 30 kills and 24 errors in 109 attacks. The Bulldogs had 11 blocks, led by Krauser with five. Billo had two of Wingate's three aces on the night. Four different players had one ace each for the Bobcats.

The Bulldogs will face Montevallo Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Wingate defeated the Falcons 3-0 in a match earlier this season in Cuddy Arena. The winner of Saturday's contest will advance to the regional title match.