Nov. 21, 2008

WINGATE, NC -- Senior Melissa Griffith (Williamsburg, VA/Lafayette HS) posted a career-high 30 kills as Catawba downed Francis Marion in four sets in an opening round match of the 2008 NCAA II Southeast Region Volleyball Tournament on Friday afternoon at Wingate University’s Cuddy Arena.  The fourth-seeded Catawba Indians won by the scores of 25-20, 27-29, 28-26 and 29-27 to improve to 21-10.  The Lady Indians advance to Saturday night’s semifinal against either top-seeded Wingate or Anderson.  The Patriots end their season at 23-9.

 Griffith turned in the fifth-best match total in Catawba history and moved into second place on the school’s career list with 1,582 in her four seasons.  She collected 21 kills over the final two sets and  11 in the deciding set.  She also added 17 digs.  Junior libero Mai Zoua Lo (Hickory, NC/Foard HS) posted a career-high 38 digs with freshman setter Megan Courson (Statesville, NC/W. Iredell HS) delivering 55 assists.

 In the opening set, Catawba grabbed an early 8-6 lead after a kill by Griffith.  A kill by Caitlin Simpson for Francis Marion gave the serve to Jenna Kaiser, who served up three aces in a run that gave the Patriots a 12-8 edge.  Griffith ended the run with a kill and the Lady Indians clawed back to tie the match at 15-all on a kill by Melissa Powers (Bennett, NC/N. Moore HS). 

Powers gave Catawba the lead at 17-15 with a pair of blocks with help from Courson and Shay Meeks (Kings Mountain, NC/Kings Mountain HS).  FMU pulled within 21-20, but Catawba won the final four points on a ball handling error, a kill by Griffith and two from Meeks.

Francis Marion evened the match with set two win.  Another service run by Kaiser gave the Patriots a 12-8 edge.  Catawba would battle back to tie the set at 16-all on a kill by Griffith, but the Patriots got consecutive kills from Amanda Mitchell to lead 22-19.

Catawba again rallied, tying the set at 23-all on a combo block from Powers and Meeks then grabbed a lead on a Powers kill.  Two Catawba attack errors gave FMU a set point, which was lost on a service error.  Kills from Ashlyn Underhill and Powers left things tied before a FMU attack error put Catawba back on set point.  Underhill picked up a kill then served an ace for the lead before a combo block from Kaiser and Mallory Eggert ended the set.

The Lady Indians rallied late to steal set three to grab a 2-1 edge.  FMU took an early lead at 9-3 behind a block and two kills from Eggert.  Mitchell also had two kills.  Catawba would not get closer than four points until its final push.  Down 22-17, Powers had a kill, Tiffany Andrassy (Raleigh, NC/Sanderson HS) an ace and Griffith a kill as the Lady Indians cut the deficit to 22-20.

Francis Marion got to set point at 24-21, but saw Catawba score the next four points, including three on kills from Griffith to take a 25-24 lead.  The Lady Indians picked up the final two points on a service error and a ball-handling error.

FMU took an early 5-2 lead in the final set which would go back-and-forth.  Catawba rallied from a 17-14 deficit and took a 19-18 lead on a Griffith kill.  Caitlin Simpson put the Patriots up 20-19 with a kill, but a kill by Griffith and an attack error put the Lady Indians up 21-20.  A combo block from Simpson and Kaiser and a ball-handling error returned the lead to FMU at 22-21.

The teams would swap points until consecutive kills by Griffith returned the lead to Catawba at 26-25.  Kills by Underhill and Mitchell staved off match points after two more Griffith kills.  Griffith again pushed Catawba to match point with her final kill and Meeks killed off the final point.

Powers followed Griffith with 20 kills for Catawba and added four blocks.  Meeks tallied 11 kills.  Griffith hit at 34.7%, making only five errors in 72 swings.

Mitchell led FMU with 18 kills with Underhill adding 16.  Simpson and Emily Hill each had six blocks.  Kaiser had 48 assists to go along with 17 digs and four aces, while Kelsie Deaton provided 28 digs.

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