RALEIGH, N.C. -- Wednesday's USA South Conference battle between cross-town rivals William Peace and Meredith College ended in a 3-2 (25-22, 23-25, 25-21, 17-25, 15-10) win for the Avenging Angels and required the skill and presence of every member of both teams. Caroline Corey led the Angels with 27 kills, and three MCVB defenders, Lauren Phillips, Katie Keen, and Corey, posted double-digit performances to fend off the WPU attack.
Other top statistics include a match-high 55 assists from Hannah Blaylock, along with nine digs and three aces. Alex Hafliger and Haley Reeg notched a dozen kills apiece from the middle, and the two combined for five blocks. Carson Jones tallied six kills, nine digs.
Tonight's rival between the Pacers and Avenging Angels did not disappoint a standing-room-only crowd in Meredith's Weatherspoon Gymnasium. With the the opening frame tied on five occasions with two lead changes, the battle quickly began.
With teams even at nine, a WPU misstep launched a 7-2 Meredith rally to give the Angels a little breathing room at 16-11. Peace countered with a missed MCVB serve and a stuff to keep the game close, but Reeg and Elisabeth Smith blocked Sha'Nice Frazier during a 3-0 run to maintain their distance from the Pacers.
But Frazier responded with a pair of her own blocks, as WPU chipped away at Meredith's lead.
A timeout by Head Meredith Coach Kenzie Aries at 20-18 led to back-to-back blows from Samantha Smith and Hafliger. WPU responded with two of their own points, but a kill down the line from rookie Jones put the Angels up 23-21.
Peace called for a break in the action, but Hafliger and Corey finished off the visitors with a pair of kills for a 1-0 match advantage.
The Angels turned up the heat in the second set as Reeg capped off a 5-0 rally with an unassisted blast in the middle. A Meredith service error led to a trio of Pacer points to pull the visitors to within one. And a mishandled ball followed by a reception error placed William Peace out front.
Down by three, MCVB finally outlasted WPU to end the rally, but neither team would gain clear control through the next four points. A kill and a stuff from the Pacer front line shifted the momentum, as William Peace held a 15-10 lead.
Defenders on both sides of the net made for long rallies and aggressive plays, but WPU remained in control of the score 19-13.
Meredth's outsides Jones and Corey put down a pair of kills, but the Pacer lead held at five. Emily Skoglund launched a winner from the service line, and Blaylock slipped one past the block to the left corner to cut the WPU lead back to three at 21-18.
MCVB picked up a point on a misplayed Pacer attempt, and Hafliger blasted a slide to pull the Angels closer. WPU finally called a timeout as Meredith remained just two points behind 23-21 with momentum on their side.
Reeg stuffed an attack in the middle, but rookie Pacer Hailey Stout fired back to give WPU set point. Peace faulted at the net, but Meredith wasted the opportunity with a service error to end the frame in favor of the Pacers.
The action moved back and fourth in the third stanza. Midway through the set Reeg crushed a pair of blows and Blaylock put away an ace to force a WPU timeout with the Angels in the lead 15-12. Corey smashed one from the outside, and Blaylock scored another winner from the line to extend Meredith's lead to five.
A mishandled set followed by a misplayed block let WPU slip back into the match 23-20, but Blaylock dished out a quick set to Corey for the finish and 2-1 advantage.
Meredith opened with a 4-1 lead in the next frame and held onto that three-point advantage through 8-5. But an 11-1 Pacer run moved WPU in front 16-9 with the match headed for a split. Meredith tried to end the threat, but William Peace closed out the frame to force a deciding set.
With a 4-2 lead in the fifth set, Tyler Bryan and Reeg stuffed WPU's outside attack and Corey served a winner to continue the drive. But the momentum shifted quickly as Peace notched a trio of kills to pull to within two.
Meredith called for a timeout, and Reeg and Blaylock responded with a winner on the next play. Lauren Grodi entered to serve, and Meredith's front line put down two more for a 10-5 lead. Jones and Hafliger extended that lead to seven, but Peace remained in the match on a kill from Frazier.
A MCVB error and a WPU kill pulled the Pacers to within four, but Aries stifled the rising momentum with a timeout. A miscue on the right side continued the WPU threat, but Jones and Corey put together a pair of winners from Blaylock to finish off the match.
Skoglund tallied seven digs for the Angels, and S. Smith posted three. Frazier, along with Stout and Mya Parks, led the Pacers with double-digit kills, and Liana Solomon dished out 38 assists with 12 digs. Carson Williams notched a match-high digs with 27 on the night.
The Avenging Angels travel to Ferrum College Saturday for a USA South tri-match with Methodist. MCVB is slated to play at Noon and 2 p.m. with live stats available HERE.