RALEIGH, N.C. - The Avenging Angels suffered a disappointing 3-1 loss to the William Peace Pacers in tonight's USA South conference pairing. Prior to the opening serve, Athletics Director Jackie Meyers and Head Coach Fiona Barkley recognized the three seniors - Kara Baughman, Caroline Cobb and Cori Spade.
Meredith slipped to 10-12 overall and 3-6 in the conference, while Peace (12-16, 5-6 USA South) moved up to sixth place in league standings with the win.
The Avenging Angels struggled defensively throughout the first set allowing Peace to jump out to a 6-2 lead. A pair of blasts from Spade brought MC back to within three before four unforced errors wiped away the advance.
Back-to-back swings from match-leader Lauren Naugle followed by a second-touch kill from WPU setter Brooke Norris continued the pressure. Minutes later Meredith found themselves in a double-digit deficit at 21-10.
Unwilling to fold, Meredith picked up two quick points on Pacer miscues and a blast from right side hitter Anna Hayes. Middle blocker Molly Markley crushed a ball from the hands of setter Clarke Glendenning to open up a 5-1 Meredith run. The rally pulled the Avenging Angels to within five before Naugle and Meghan Luffman finished off the set 25-18.
Peace jumped out to another good start in set two cruising to a 12-3 advantage.
Back-to-back missteps from the Pacers gave Meredith a push before the visitors lashed out again with four more winners. A pair of MC errors drove the Peace lead to 12 at 19-7.
Meredith managed a comeback on a flurry of WPU errors combined with blows from Hayes and freshman Emily Hendricks. Spade fired an ace and the team added two more winners to cut the lead to six. Once again, Meredith found themselves out of time as Peace closed out the set 25-17 for a 2-0 match lead.
The third stanza opened in much the same way with the visitors on top 7-1 in the opening plays. A Peace service error launched a 6-0 Meredith swing behind steady serving from Baughman to even the score at sevens.
The momentum began to slowly shift in favor of the Avenging Angels forcing Pacer Head Coach Kevin Daniels to whistle for a timeout after another five plays left his team down by one.
Spade and Baughman paired up for a kill on the next play and Baughman tossed another to Markley. Freshman April Hausler punished the Pacer defense on an overpass and Spade capped off the 7-1 run with another big blow.
Alive and well, the Meredith offense cruised to a 22-12 advantage before WPU quieted the crowd on a stifling 9-1 run to pull within two at 23-21. Three more kills tied the set at 24's before the Avenging Angels ended the suspense and won the set 26-24.
The energetic crowd supported Meredith to a 6-2 edge in the fourth frame. The teams battled but the Avenging Angels maintained the advantage at 11-5.
The tides began to turn following another Pacer timeout, and the visitors cruised to a two-point advantage on an 11-3 run.
Hausler and Spade each landed a kill to hold on at 17-17. Meredith took the lead back on a blast from Hendricks before Peace drifted away to a 25-22 win.
Spade led Meredith with 13 kills and 14 digs for her seventh double-double this season. Markley connected on nine swings and Hausler tallied three blocks in the loss. Baughman and Glendenning combined for 27 assists.
WPU's Naugle led all with 24 kills adding 10 digs. Meghan Luffman posted 14 kills and four blocks, and Norris dished out an impressive 45 assists on the night.
Meredith travels to Greensboro Saturday for a league tri-match with LaGrange. The five-match slump forces the Avenging Angels into a must-win situation as USA South teams vie for the top eight spots and a USA South tournament bid.