Griffith and Powers help send Volleyball to SAC semifinals


WINGATE, NC -- Sophomore’s Melissa Powers (Bennett, NC) and Melissa Griffith (Williamsburg, VA) each had 18 kills as third-seeded Catawba swept past Newberry in three games in an opening round match of the 2006 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Volleyball Tournament on Friday afternoon at Cuddy Arena.

Catawba won by the scores of 30-26, 30-16 and 33-31 and advance to face Lenoir-Rhyne on Friday night in semifinal action. The Catawba Indians improve to 19-11 with its seventh straight win, while Newberry, the sixth-seed, ends its season at 4-30. Powers had a big day for Catawba, with no attack errors in 29 attempts for a .621 hitting percentage. She added three blocks, three digs and two aces.

Griffith registered a team-high 15 digs. Setter Andi Henderson (Swansboro, NC) had 47 assists with three aces, three blocks and 10 digs. Newberry jumped to a 4-1 lead in the opening game, but Catawba scored four straight points, two on Griffith kills and another on an ace by Powers, to take the lead. The game was tied at 20-20 when Griffith killed a point and Powers added back-to-back kills for a 23-20 Catawba advantage.

Catawba led 27-25 when Griffith sandwiched a pair of kills around a Powers ace to win the game. Powers had three kills in an early seven-point run in game two that helped Catawba to a 15-8 lead. Catawba later used a five-point surge, capped by an ace by Nikki Bozick (Boca Raton, FL), to grab a 25-13 lead. Powers would kill off the game point. In the final game, an ace by Henderson gave Catawba a 24-18 lead only to see Newberry fight back to tie the match at 27-27 on an ace by Jessica Lopez. Laurie Barman put Newberry on top at 29-28 with a kill, but a serve error helped stave off a game point.

A block by Henderson and Powers gave Catawba a one-point lead with Jessica Lipsi killing a point for Newberry to tie things at 30-30. Lipsi would follow a kill by Mai Zoua Lo (Hickory, NC) to even the game at 31-31, but Lo had another kill which was followed by a Powers kill to end the match. Lipsi led Newberry with a dozen kills, while Barman added nine. Lorena Maia posted 16 digs with Lipsi adding 14. Setter Kilee Ruppe had 28 assists and three aces.

1 2 3 Newberry (4-30) 26 16 31 Catawba (19-11) 30 30 33 Leaders Kills: C - Melissa Powers 18, Melissa Griffith 18, Mai Zoua Lo 10; N - Jessica Lipsi 12, Laurie Barman 9. Digs: C - Griffith 15, Missy Bartholomew 11, Andi Henderson 10; N - Lorena Maia 16, Lipsi 14, Jennamarie Lasky 10. Blocks: C - Powers 0-3/3 Henderson 0-3/3, Jessica Cleary 0-2/2, Amanda Nantz 0-2/2; N - Maia 0-1/1, Barman 0-1/1. Assists: C - Henderson 47; N - Kilee Ruppe 28. Service Aces: C - Henerson 3, Lo 3, Powers 2; N - Ruppe 3, Jessica Lopez 2. ATT: 67 Time – 1:23

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Volleyball Team Photo