SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Junior setter Lauren Tharrington dished out a team-high 26 assists, eclipsing 1,000 for her career to help guide the Converse College volleyball team to a thrilling 3-2 win over visiting Bob Jones University on Tuesday evening. Playing in front of the home crowd for the first time on the season, Converse did not disappoint, taking the match by set scores of 27-25, 25-16, 20-25, 21-25, and 18-16.
Scores: Bob Jones 2, Converse 3
Records: Bob Jones (13-3), Converse (3-11)
Location: Hannah Gymnasium, Spartanburg, S.C.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Brittany Tepedino led all players with 16 kills to go along with 21 digs.
- Alexis Pitts produced her best offensive game of the season with 13 kills.
- Jasmine Finkley hit double-digits kills with 11.
- Elizabeth Yohe found herself all over the court, collecting a game-high 31 digs.
- Lottie Hutson joined Tharrington as a catalyst for the offense, dishing out 25 assists.
- Converse hit a season-high .229 for the match.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Bob Jones put the pressure on the Valkyries early after taking the set's first three points. The Valkyries got on the board following a block from Kiara Cannon. However, the Bruins pushed the lead out to 17-10 before a 12-5 burst from Converse knotted the opening set at 22-all.
From that point the score would be tied three separate times, but at 25-25 Converse took the next two points, collecting the 1-0 match lead.
After exchanging the first 22 points of the set, Converse took complete control with a tactical 6-0 run, building a comfortable 17-11 lead. The Bruins were able to trim the deficit to 18-14, but a Finkley kill sparked a run of 7-2, ending the set and giving Converse the commanding 2-0 match lead.
Set three started just as the previous with the two teams sending points back-and-forth to the tune of a 7-7 deadlock. However, BJU took four points in a row to establish a lead midway through the frame.
Playing from behind, Converse was able to trim the gap to two points on a pair of occasions but would not be able to draw any closer, dropping set three and sending the contest to the pivotal fourth set.
The scoring sequence in the fourth set was of the same as the teams continued to trade points with neither building a large lead. Eventually, Bob Jones collected kills from Brooke Beaver and Abby Plew to take a 12-9 lead. The Valkyries answered right back with a run of its own (5-1) to take the lead before the Bruins were given a spark once more by Plew, regaining the lead at 16-14.
From there, the Bruins kept the upper hand as they held on for a 25-21 win to force the winner-take-all fifth set.
With just one set to decide a winner, the Bruins and Valkyries traded points as each took advantage of the other's mistakes. After back-to-back kills and a service ace, the Bruins held a 11-9 advantage forcing the Valkyries to call a timeout. Coming out of the stoppage, Converse was able to rip off three of four points to tie the set at 12-12.
The score would become tied four different times over the set's final points, but at 16-16, Tepedino blasted a kill to give the Vals match point. Tharrington came to serve and the ball hit the top of the tape and landed ever-so-gently on the Bruins side of the court for a service ace and final point of the contest. Tharrington's heroic ace put her in 10th place at Converse with 86 for her career.
The Valkyries will open Conference Carolinas play on Friday, September 27, welcoming Erskine to the Weisiger Center. First serve for that contest is scheduled for 7 p.m.