AIKEN, S.C. – The Converse College volleyball team concluded the 2019 Pacer Invitational with a pair of hard-fought defeats on Saturday afternoon. The Valkyries were downed 3-0 in the first match of the day by Francis Marion before losing in straight sets to USC Aiken.
Scores: Converse 0, Francis Marion 3; Converse 0, USC Aiken 3
Records: Converse (2-10), Francis Marion (6-5), USC Aiken (10-0)
Location: Convocation Center, Aiken, S.C.
HOW IT HAPPENED – Game One vs. Francis Marion (23-25, 21-25, 16-25)
Francis Marion came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, collecting the set's first nine points to build a comfortable lead early. However, Converse did not back down, rallying from the early deficit to tie the frame at 22-22. Unfortunately, from that point, FMU took two of the final three points to earn a 1-0 match lead.
Once again the Patriots ran out to a quick lead, taking the initial six points, but a furious rally from the Valkyries (12-6) evened the contest at 12-all midway through. Francis Marion was able to take momentum back, establishing a 21-16 lead late.
The Valkyries were able to stave off two set points, but Francis Marion collected the 25th point after a kill that landed just inside the court, taking a 2-0 match lead.
After the two teams traded the first 18 points (9-9), Francis Marion built a decent lead with a 6-1 burst. A service error from the Patriots allowed Converse to trim the deficit to 17-13, but that was as close as it would get with FMU finishing off the set 25-16 and match, 3-0.
HOW IT HAPPENED – Game Two vs. USC Aiken (14-25, 15-25, 13-25)
Aiken showed why they are undefeated during the opening set, racing out to an impressive 13-5 advantage. A kill by Cat Jumper helped Converse narrow the gap to 13-8, but the Pacers continued to cling to the lead.
Alexis Pitts connected on a kill from the outside to make the score 18-13 in favor of USCA, but the Pacers finished the set on a 7-1 run to take the 1-0 match lead.
A Brittany Tepedino kill early in the second brought Converse to within a single point (4-3). However, six in a row from the Pacers established a lead of 10-4. From that point the lead grew to double-digits (18-8) and Converse could not get back on track, dropping the frame 25-14 and going down 2-0 in the match.
Trying to force a fourth set, Converse came out with great energy in set three. The Valkyries stayed close (7-5) following a smash by Jasmine Finkley, but a 6-1 run by Aiken spread the distance to 13-6 midway through.
An Elizabeth Coffey kill sparked a mini 3-0 run by Converse, but the Pacers finished strong, taking 12 of the set's final 16 points to capture the 3-0 match win.
Converse will welcome Bob Jones University to the Weisiger Center on Tuesday, September 24. That match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.