Tenth straight win nets Volleyball title, regional berth

GREENEVILLE, TN -- The sixth-seeded Catawba College Lady Indians upset top-seeded Presbyterian College in three games to claim the Championship of the 2001 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Volleyball Tournament at Alpine Arena on Sunday afternoon. The SAC Tournament, part of the 2001 SAC Fall Festival hosted by Tusculum, was the third tournament title for the Lady Indians, and first since 1991. Catawba becomes the first #6- seed to win the tournament and defeated the top three seeds en route to the title. The Lady Indians won the championship match by the scores of 30-22, 38-36 and 30-23. With the win, its 10th in a row, Catawba will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II South Regional Tournament, Nov. 16-17. The Lady Indians improve to 15-13 overall, while Presbyterian ends its season at 24-8. The opening game was controlled early by the Lady Blue Hose as they jumped out to a early 7-3 lead. Catawba evened the match at 12-12 on a block by freshmen outside hitter Crystal Bonner (Yadkinville, NC) and middle hitter Elizabeth Hewitt (Hickory, NC). The game stayed close down the stretch, but the Lady Indians would not surrender the lead. Catawba's junior middle hitter Rachel LaRoche (Wilmington, DE) tallied four kills in the final points to win 30-22. The second game was a marathon with each team taking turns holding the lead. Presbyterian took control at 19-19 and went ahead 24-20 on a kill by senior outside hitter Leah Easler (Lexington, SC). Catawba evened the game at 26-26 on a block by LaRoche and freshman Heather Hawkins (Troutman, NC). Presbyterian held six game points down the stretch, but the Lady Indians fought off each chance and won the second game 38-36 on a kill by Hawkins. Catawba held the momentum entering the third game and took a commanding 18-6 lead. The Lady Blue Hose fought back and cut the lead to 23-14 using a 5-2 run highlighted by a pair of kills by senior outside hitter Aisha Walker (Atlanta, GA). Presbyterian would come to within 25-18 on a kill by sophomore middler hitter Lindsay Mitchell (Chapin, SC). Catawba pull ahead 29-20 on a pair of kills by freshman outside hitter Hope Miller (Newton, NC). The Lady Indians secured the game and the title on a kill by LaRoche. The Lady Indians were led by LaRoche who tallied 15 kills while Miller tallied a team-high 16 digs. Junior setter Lettie Wilkes (Williamsport, MD) dished out 39 assists and added five service aces. Hawkins recorded 12 blocks to lead Catawba which totaled 18 for the match. Presbyterian was led by Walker who tallied 12 kills and 12 digs while Mitchell added 10 kills and six total blocks. Freshman setter Melissa Sabin (Stuart, FL) dished out 40 assists, Easler added four service aces and freshman middle hitter Donja Bobbitt (San Antonio, TX) led the team with 17 digs. MATCH SCORES 1 2 3 #6 Catawba (15-13) 30 38 30 #1 Presbyterian (24-8) 22 36 23 Leaders Kills: CC - Rachel LaRoche 15, Talita McCain 9; PC - Aisha Walker 12, Lindsay Mitchell 10 Digs: CC - Hope Miller 16, Lettie Wilkes 14; PC - Donja Bobbitt 17, Walker 12 Blocks: CC - Heather Hawkins 4-8/12, LaRoche 1-5/6, Wilkes 0-6/6; PC - Mitchell 6 Assists: CC - Lettie Wilkes 39; PC - Melissa Sabin 40 Aces: CC - Wilkes 5, Megan Bowman 3; PC - Leah Easler 4 #######

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Volleyball Team Photo