Emilee Taylor leads Flagler to NCAA tournament win against Queens (N.C.)
WINGATE, N.C. -- Emilee Taylor recorded a match-high 16 kills and added eight digs to help lead Flagler, the No. 3 seed, to a 3-0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-19) sweep of Queens (N.C.), the No. 6 seed, in the first quarterfinal match of the 2013 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional on Thursday at Cuddy Arena.
Taylor, an AVCA All-Southeast Region selection, finished with a .520 hitting percentage as she had only three errors on 25 swings. Genel Sturgeon and Abby Meyers, who was selected to the AVCA All-Southeast Region team, as well, each added five kills for the Saints. Ashley Cheewah led the front line with five total blocks (two solo and three assisted). Megan Hooks added three more blocks. Amelia Morgan tallied 11 assists and added eight digs while Mackensie Mosley registered 10 assists and collected seven digs.
Flagler (21-12) hit an efficient .300 for the match with 35 kills and just 11 errors on 80 swings. The Saints served up nine aces, the most since they had 11 against Florida Southern on Nov. 9.
Meredith Jones came off the bench to lead the Royals with seven kills. Anna Gibbs added six kills and hit .429 as she had 14 errorless swings. Keri Kemp, an All-South Atlantic Conference selection, was held to just three kills and a -.077 hitting percentage. She did collect a team-high seven digs. Taylor Riley added 22 assists and six digs while Elizabeth Bialkowski recorded four block assists.
The Saints jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the first set and never looked back. Taylor hit .714 in the set with five kills on seven errorless swings and added a pair of solo blocks. She had half of the team's kills. The Royals were held to a .000 hitting percentage.
In the second set, with score tied at 5, a service error by Alex Sparrell of Queens sparked an 8-0 run and Flagler cruised to the win. A more balanced attack by the Saints helped the cause as Sturgeon led with four kills. Flagler hit .417 with 12 kills and just two errors on 24 swings.
The third set had a little more drama with six ties and one lead change. Queens held an 8-7 lead until Taylor recorded a kill to tie the set and then Mosley followed with an ace and the Saints never trailed again. The Royals rallied to tie the score at 13, but three consecutive points forced Queens to call its first timeout. Brittney Barren got the Royals one point closer with a kill, but the Saints answered with three consecutive kills as Meyers sandwiched her two kills around one from Taylor and Queens had to burn its second timeout. Flagler finished off the set and match when Mosley found a wide-open area on the court for a kill to end the set.
Queens (17-12) made its first appearance at the regional tournament. The Royals had entered the tournament winning 10 of its past 12 matches.