Nov. 21, 2009

Wingate, N.C.----The Flagler College volleyball team advances to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional final in its first tournament appearance, thanks to a 3-1 semifinal victory over Armstrong Atlantic State University Saturday night in Cuddy Arena on the Wingate University campus. The Saints won the battle of the Peach Belt Conference schools 25-21, 20-25, 25-21, 25-16.

Flagler sweeps the four-match season series with Armstrong Atlantic State. The Saints improve to 34-8 overall with the victory. Flagler will face the winner of the Carson-Newman/Wingate match Sunday night at 7 p.m. for the regional title. The defending Southeast Region champions, the AASU Pirates complete the 2009 campaign 27-10 overall.

Saint junior middle blocker/outside hitter Meg Weathersby (Maitland, Fla.) led the Flagler offense with 18 kills and a .357 hitting percentage. She filled out her stat sheet with 12 digs and match-high totals of three service aces and seven blocks (two solo, five assists). Flagler senior outside hitter Justine Burkhardt (St. Augustine, Fla.) had 16 kills and 17 digs.

Flagler senior outside hitter Katie Beale (Stuart, Fla.) contributed 15 kills and 10 digs. Saint sophomore setter Olivia Snipes (Easley, S.C.) had 27 assists and seven digs, while junior setter Rebecca Royal (Green Cove Springs, Fla.) handed out 23 assists. Freshman libero Casey Gnann (Boca Raton, Fla.) topped the Flagler defensive charts with 24 digs.

For Armstrong Atlantic State, sophomore outside hitter Torrie Bevolo (St. Louis, Mo.) had 15 kills and 19 digs. AASU senior middle hitter Michele Remlinger (Kalida, Ohio) and junior outside hitter Brendyce Budd (Page, Ariz.) had 10 kills each.

Pirate freshman setter Kristin Standhardinger (Munich, Germany) had a match-high 41 assists. AASU sophomore libero Casey Howett (Brooks, Ga.) posted 20 digs, while senior defensive specialist Nicole Yates (Shorewood, Ill.) added 10 digs.

Flagler saved the best for last (offensively), hitting a match-best .321 in the fourth set (11 kills, two errors, 28 total attacks). The AASU Pirates hit only .118 (11, seven, 34) in the fourth frame. The Saints never trailed in the fourth set; the stanza was tied on three occasions.

Beale and Burkhardt posted five kills each to lead Flagler to the 25-21 set three victory. Weathersby added three kills and a team-best three blocks in the frame. AASU led 8-5 when Flagler made a 7-1 run to take a 12-9 lead. Burkhardt ended the flurry with a service ace.

Back-to-back aces by Weathersby gave the Saints a 17-11 lead. A Remlinger kill pulled the Pirates within three at 17-14, but AASU would get no closer. Beale completed the set with a kill.

Armstrong Atlantic State hit .273 in the second set to pick up the 25-20 victory. Bevolo led the way with five kills in nine swings (.556 hitting percentage) for the Pirates. AASU finished the frame with an 18-9 explosion to turn an 11-7 deficit into a 25-20 victory.

A Bevolo kill put the Pirates up 20-19. Bevolo put a punctuation mark on the set with kill for the Pirates' 25th point. Burkhardt had six kills in the second stanza for Flagler.

In the first set, Flagler scored four unanswered points to turn a 10-10 deadlock into a 14-10 advantage. Beale and Weathersby had two kills each during the mini-run to give the Saints a lead they would not relinquish. The first set featured six ties and only two lead changes.

Bevolo converted a kill to pull the Pirates within one at 18-17. Weathersby answered with back-to-back kills to put the Saints up 20-17. She finished the set with a kill. Weathersby had six kills in the first frame, while Beale contributed five kills. For AASU, Budd had five kills in the opening stanza.

Short Box Score (Match) 2009 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Armstrong Atlantic State vs. Flagler Nov 21, 2009 at Wingate, N.C.

Flagler def. Armstrong Atlantic State 3-1 (25-21, 20-25, 25-21, 25-16)

Armstrong Atlantic State (27-10 overall) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Bevolo, Torrie 15-1-1; Remlinger, Michele 10-0-3; Budd, Brendyce 10-0-1; Standhardinger, Kath 8-0-2; Birkemeier, Amy 4-0-2; Standhardinger, Kris 2-0-0; Totals 49-1-5.0. (Assists) - Standhardinger, Kris 41. (Dig leaders) - Howett, Casey 20; Bevolo, Torrie 19; Yates, Nicole 10; Edgeworth, Natalie 9; Birkemeier, Amy 8; Standhardinger, Kris 8

Flagler (34-8 overall) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Weathersby, Meg 18-3-7; Burkhardt, Justine 16-2-0; Beale, Katie 15-0-1; Stacy, Rachel 4-0-3; Hendrian, Becky 1-0-2; Royal, Rebecca 0-0-5; Snipes, Olivia 0-2-1; Totals 54-7-11.0. (Assists) - Snipes, Olivia 27; Royal, Rebecca 23. (Dig leaders) - Gnann, Casey 24; Burkhardt, Justine 17; Weathersby, Meg 12; Beale, Katie 10

Site: Wingate, N.C. (Cuddy Arena) Date: Nov 21, 2009 Attend: 228 Time: 1:37 Referees: Keith Murless, De Batchelor Flagler advances to NCAA Division II Southeast Regional finals Sunday at 7