WINGATE, N.C. -- Armstrong Atlantic shook off a rough first set to defeat Newberry 3-1 in the first round of the Southeast Regional on Thursday afternoon. Set scores were 21-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-23.
The Pirates (31-1) advance to face Flagler, 3-0 winners against Queens (N.C.) on Thursday, in the Region Semifinal on Friday afternoon. Newberry ends its season at 18-13 after advancing to the NCAA championships for the third consecutive season.
A big service run by senior Christina Chow staked the Pirates to an 11-5 lead in the first set, but Newberry's Samantha Parrish answered with a service run of her own to draw the Wolves back into the set. With Armstrong leading 15-13, Newberry scored eight of the next 10 points to take a 21-17 lead and eventually win the set. Armstrong hit just .053 in the set and the Wolves had three service aces.
The second set was all Pirates from the start as senior Jessica Santaniello served eight consecutive points as Armstrong built a 9-2 lead and cruised to the 25-18 victory. In the third set, the Pirates scored 15 of 17 points in one stretch, building a 16-8 lead and eventaullly taking a two sets to one lead.
The fourth set was back and forth and hinged on a pair of pivotal runs. With the score tied at 8-all, Armstrong again got a strong service run from Chow and built a 13-8 lead. Newberry would cut the lead to one at 19-18, but a kill by freshman Emily Wylie sparked a four-point run to put the Pirates ahead 23-18. The Wolves fought back again to one point, 24-23, but a kill from senior Kristen Holmes would finish off the match for the Pirates.