Garrison and Hopper Lead Volleyball to SAC-Opening Win at LR


HICKORY, N.C. -- Catawba opened South Atlantic Conference volleyball play with a five-set win at Lenoir-Rhyne on Tuesday night at Shuford Gym.  The Catawba Indians won by the scores of 18-25, 25-23, 25-27, 25-23 and 15-6 to improve to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the SAC.  The Bears fall to 1-3 and 0-1.

McKenzie Garrison (Newton, N.C./Maiden) and Alex Hopper (Madison, N.C./McMichael) each tallied 19 kills to help the Lady Indians rally from down two sets to one.  Garrison would add 19 digs, while Hopper posted a pair of blocks.  Audrey Hoffman (Dacula, Ga./Mill Creek) recorded 14 kills with four blocks and libero Meredith Furr (Concord, N.C./Cox Mill) picked up 23 digs.  Setter Rachel Stanford (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) handed out 66 assists, tying for ninth most in school history. 

Following a tough 27-25 loss in set three, Catawba jumped out to a 10-3 lead in set four.  A kill from Kimberly Hurtado (Indian Trail, N.C./Sun Valley) put the Lady Indians up 20-12 before Lenoir-Rhyne ran off five straight points to close within 20-17.  The Bears eventually came all the way back to tie the set at 22-all on a kill from Brandi Thomas.  Kills from Garrison and Allie Grubb (Trinity, N.C./Wheatmore) pushed Catawba to set point where the teams traded attack errors to close the set.

Catawba took the momentum into the fifth set and broke from a 3-3 tie, going on a 7-1 run after a kill from Hopper.  Garrison added two kills in the run with Grubb providing a kill and a block.  A kill from Garrison and an ace from Stanford made it 12-5 and the Lady Indians closed out the match on kills from Garrison, Hopper and Hoffman.

The Lady Indians led the opening set 10-8, but saw Lenoir-Rhyne reel off nine consecutive points to lead 17-10.  Catawba led early in the second set (11-7) and again the Bears rallied.  A kill from Brook Redmond put LR on top 22-20 before back-to-back kill from Hopper tied the set.  Hurtado and Redmond traded kills then Hopper put Catawba up 24-23 on a kill and Hurtado and Stanford combined on a block to even the match at a set apiece.

Catawba again took the early lead in set three.  A kill and two blocks from Grubb helped the Lady Indians to a 6-1 edge.  The lead went to 14-7 after a Garrison kill.  Catawba was up 21-16 on a kill from Hopper, but LR was able to tie the set at 23-all.  Each team fought off a set point before Thomas killed off the final two points to win the set for LR.

Redmond posted 20 kills to lead LR.  Thomas added 17 kills.  Alexis Ivey produced seven blocks and Ashley Markland collected 20 digs.

Catawba heads to Brevard for its next match on Friday at 7 p.m.

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