Nov. 20, 2009

Courtesy Flagler Athletics

WINGATE, N.C. − Katie Beale (Stuart, Fla./Martin County HS) recorded a career-high 27 kills and added 14 digs for her 19th double-double of the season as Flagler College, the No. 2 seed, rallied to defeat Lees-McRae College, the No. 7 seed, 3-2 (25-27, 26-28, 25-22, 25-18, 15-11) in the second quarterfinal of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Friday afternoon at Cuddy Arena.

Flagler advances to the semifinals where it will face a familiar opponent in No. 3 seed Armstrong Atlantic State University tomorrow (Nov. 21) at 4:30 p.m. The same two teams met last Sunday for the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship where Flagler prevailed 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-23). The Saints have also defeated the Pirates twice during the regular season.

Flagler (33-8) also broke the school record for wins in a season with 33. The previous record was 32 set back in 2003. This is also the first national post-season victory for the Saints in volleyball.

Meg Weathersby (Maitland, Fla./Orangewood Christian) added 18 kills, 10 digs and eight total blocks, just missing a triple-double. Justine Burkhardt (St. Augustine, Fla./Winthrop U.) tallied 14 kills and 18 digs and hit .263 for the match. Olivia Snipes (Easley, S.C./Easley HS) notched her eighth double-double with 34 assists and 17 digs. Rebecca Royal (Green Cove Springs, Fla./Fleming Island HS) registered 25 assists and a season-high six total blocks.

Katie-Marie Legg led the Bobcats with 17 kills, a .417 hitting percentage and four blocks for Lees-McRae (29-6). Whitney Justice added 16 kills while Taylor Clendenin chipped in with 12 more. Luana Rocha collected a match-high 23 digs while Megan Epperson tallied 18 more. Megan Mitchell registered 47 assists.

The Bobcats rallied from a 15-8 deficit in the first set. Lees-McRae broke two set points, the second coming on a kill by Epperson to knot the set at 24-all. After a service error by Mitchell, the Bobcats closed the set with back-to-back kills by Justice Congdon and Clendenin.

Flagler held a 17-12 lead in the second set, but the Bobcats rallied again. Lees-McRae tied the set at 21 after a pair of attack errors by Flagler. A Rachel Stacy (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek HS) kill via a blocking error by Bobcat put the Saints up 26-25. Lees-McRae closed the set with three straight points, aided by a pair of attack errors by Flagler.

In the third set, Flagler had to rally from an early deficit. The Saints rattled off four straight points to take a 14-12 lead, one they would not relinquish. After a timeout by Lees-McRae, Flagler ran off two more points to continue the run. The Saints held the Bobcats to a .54 hitting percentage for that set.

Lees-McRae opened the fourth set scoring five-of-the-first-six points until Flagler rallied to tie it at 7-7 and then took the lead 8-7 on three consecutive kills by Burkhardt. She added another after the Bobcat timeout. Again, the Flagler defense played strong holding Lees-McRae to a .079 hitting percentage.

In the fifth and final set, the Saints scored the first five points and held an 8-3 lead as the teams swapped sides of the court. Lees-McRae fought its way back to 11-9, but could not get any closer.

Flagler def. Lees-McRae 25-27,26-28,25-22,25-18,15-11

Lees-McRae (29-6) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Katie-Marie Legg 17-0-4;
Whitney Justice 16-0-1; Taylor Clendenin 12-0-1; Megan Epperson 9-3-2;
Lauren Hall 2-0-0; Justine Congdon 2-3-0; Taylor Stice 0-0-1; Luana
Rocha 0-2-0; Totals 58-8-5.0. (Assists) - Megan Mitchell 47. (Dig
leaders) - Luana Rocha 23; Megan Epperson 18; Trisha Reese 10; Megan
Mitchell 9; Justine Congdon 8

Flagler (33-8) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Beale, Katie 27-3-1; Weathersby,
Meg 18-1-8; Burkhardt, Justine 14-2-1; Stacy, Rachel 9-1-4; Royal,
Rebecca 3-0-6; Hendrian, Becky 1-0-3; Snipes, Olivia 1-0-0; Totals
73-7-13.0. (Assists) - Snipes, Olivia 34; Royal, Rebecca 25. (Dig
leaders) - Burkhardt, Justine 18; Snipes, Olivia 17; Beale, Katie 14;
Unitas, Jillian 13; Gnann, Casey 13; Weathersby, Meg 10

Site: Wingate, N.C. (Cuddy Arena)
Date: Nov 20, 2009 Attend: 217 Time: 2:03
Referees: Keith Murless, De Batchelor
Flagler advances to play AASU Saturday at 4:30
NCAA Southeast Regional Quarterfinal #2
#2 Flagler vs. #7 Lees-McRae