GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Meredith Avenging Angels entered today's final conference playdate needing two wins to earn a trip to the USA South volleyball tournament next weekend in Martinsville, Virginia. The team did not disappoint. Meredith defeated LaGrange 3-2 (17-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 15-13) and capped off the day with a 3-1 victory over host Greensboro (19-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-21).
The opening set against the Panthers was a back-and-forth battle. The Avenging Angels evened the score on three occasions early in the set but never managed to take the lead. LaGrange quietly stepped away from Meredith to take a 1-0 match advantage.
The Panthers maintained the momentum in the second and jumped out to an early 7-3 lead. A pair of attack errors from LaGrange followed by a winner from senior Angel Cori Spade kicked off a 6-0 run from Meredith to take a two-point lead at 9-7.
LC captured four of the next five points before freshmen Jasmine Aguinaldo and Emily Hendricks teamed up for a trio of blasts to re-take the lead. Meredith maintained the pressure to tie the match on a 25-21 set-two victory.
Spade opened up the third with a big blow and paired up with Molly Markley to stuff a Panther attack to edge past LaGrange 3-1. The Panthers unloaded on four of the next three balls to reclaim the lead at 6-3.
Both teams were firing on all cylinders, but the Avenging Angels managed to squeak past LaGrange to finish the set 25-23.
In the fourth frame, Meredith gave the Panthers an early 3-0 lead on a trio of errors before Aguinaldo and Markley drilled two past the LC defense. Markley and Spade teamed up for a stuff and Spade finished the ralley on an assist from Clarke Glendenning, who dished out 44 on the day, to regain control at 4-3.
LaGrange connected on four of the next six balls to edge past Meredith when Hendricks and Aguinaldo unleashed on the Panthers to open up a 9-1 run to claim a six-point advantage. LC would get no closer than four the rest of the way.
LaGrange fought back in the deciding set to hold an 11-6 lead. An unfortunate Panther misstep led to back-to-back blasts from Hendricks. Glendenning fired off consecutive winners to tie the match at elevens and force a Panther timeout.
Aguinaldo and Hendricks stuffed the next ball pushing their team on a 6-2 run to claim the set and match.
Meredith faced the Greensboro Pride in the nightcap of the USA South tri-match. The Avenging Angels found themselves in a must-win situation versus the host in order to earn a spot in the league tournament. With a 3-2 loss to The Pride earlier in the season, Meredith faced a tough challenge.
Greensboro cruised to a 13-2 lead to open the match, but a determined Meredith squad pursued the host and pulled to within three at 13-10.
The teams traded points the rest of the way with The Pride maintaining a slight lead over Meredith to finish the set 25-19.
Greensboro jumped ahead in the second to a 7-2 lead on six assists from GC's setter Cortland Phillips. She stepped in on three more plays extending the Greensboro lead to seven.
Hendricks found her rhythm driving down two winners and pairing with Aguinaldo to pull within three.
Cortland dished out three more assists before a ball handling call on The Pride led Meredith on an 8-1 run to move ahead by three. Three missteps from Meredith tied the set at 20-20.
Freshman Callie McDonald opened up on a Greensboro mistake that rattled The Pride and gave the Avenging Angels the necessary boost to tie the match at 1-1.
Meredith carried the momentum into the third and captured an early 8-3 lead. A Greensboro timeout resulted in six of the next eight points forcing Head Coach Fiona Barkley to whistle a break for the Avenging Angels.
The teams tied on three more occasions when Greensboro carried on to a three-point lead at 18-15. A pair of unforced errors gave way to a winner from Meredith's Jessi Johnson. The boost was all the Avenging Angels needed to ignite an 8-0 run to secure the third set and claim a 2-1 match lead.
Phillips kept her team in the game but Meredith's offense was on fire. In spite of aggressive efforts from the host, the Avenging Angels won a 25-21 fourth set battle to close out the match in four.
Hendricks earned her best hitting totals this month with a combined 31 kills adding seven blocks. Spade posted 24 kills and 25 combined digs on the day with Aguinaldo tallying eight kills and 19 digs.
Meredith travels across town to William Peace to face Converse College in a shared double-header with the Pacers. The Avenging Angels take on the Valkryies at 5:00 p.m. in the final regular season pairing this season.