Hopper Delivers Career-High 27 Kills as Volleyball Outlasts Mars Hill in Five Sets


SALISBURY, N.C -- Catawba sophomore Alex Hopper (Madison, N.C./McMichael HS) posted a career-high 27 kills to lead the Catawba Indians to a five-set win over visiting Mars Hill in South Atlantic Conference volleyball action on Friday night at Goodman Gym.  The Lady Indians won the match 25-18, 20-25, 25-18, 28-25 and 15-9 to improve to 6-16 overall and 4-12 in the SAC.  The Lions fall to -7-16 and 6-10.

Hopper had 21 kills through three sets as the Lady Indians up two sets to one.  Mars Hill fought back in the fourth to even the match.  Down 6-4, Mary Kate Griffin (Weaverville, N.C.) delivered three straight kills to spark a 10-0 run and a 14-6 lead.  The Lions kept a comfortable margin the rest of the way ending the set on a kill from Devon Felts (Odessa, Fla.).

The teams went back-and-forth until late in the fifth set.  The Lady Indians trailed 7-5, but ran off three straight points to lead 8-7 on a combo block from Erin Morant (Bealeton, Va./Liberty HS) and Bri Howard (Graham, N.C./S. Alamance HS).  After Mars Hill tied the set, Morant killed off three straight points for an 11-8 edge. 

Griffin scored the final point for the Lions to make it 11-9 then Howard and Hopper posted kills for Catawba.  Morant and Rachel Stanford (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee HS) combined for a block to take the Lady Indians to match point and McKenzie Garrison (Newton, N.C./Maiden HS) served an ace to close out the match.

Howard followed Hopper with 15 kills for the Lady Indians.  Morant had 14 kills and three blocks.  Setter Kaytee Frabotta (Sterling Heights, Mich./Henry Ford II HS) handed out 54 assists with seven kills, 13 digs and two blocks.  Garrison had 19 digs and a pair of aces.

Griffin and Rebecca Butler (Bradenton, Fla.) each had 16 kills for Mars Hill.  Butler added 17 digs, two blocks and two aces.  Lauren Hochstetler (Sarasota, Fla.) reached 10 kills and Griffin served three aces to go with a dozen digs.  Libero Christen Nicholson (Flat Rock, N.C.) registered 22 digs with a couple of aces.

The Lady Indians pulled away to take set one easily.  Leading 16-12, Hopper produced four kills in an 8-0 run that also included three kills from Ashley Brown (Hendersonville, N.C./N. Henderson HS).  Mars Hill pulled away from a 14-13 lead to take set two then saw Catawba race to a 9-4 lead in taking set three.

Catawba will be in action at home again on Saturday, hosting Tusculum at 5 p.m.

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