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Volleyball Heads to USA South Championship

Haley Reeg and Elisabeth Smith up for the block

RALEIGH, N.C. -- With a 3-1 (28-26, 25-19, 24-26, 25-23) victory over the West third-seed Maryville Scots, the East top-seed Meredith College Angels head to the USA South Volleyball Championship for the second time in three years to battle for a second conference title. League Player of the Year Caroline Corey led the Avenging Angels with 17 kills, and Haley Reeg notched seven with no errors, hitting .636 on the night.

the West fourth-seed Piedmont Lions upset East second-seed William Peace to advance to tomorrow's finals and will attempt to capture the program's first USA South Volleyball Tournament Championship.

The Avenging Angels opened with a 4-2 lead, but USA South Rookie of the Year Meredith Bonee landed a kill that launched a six-point run to edge the Scots in front. Maryville continued to attack and MCVB fell behind 14-6. Finally, a visitor miscue led to a kill from Delano, and she landed a second after a Meredith timeout. Four of the next five points cut the deficit to five, and the Avenging Angels began to show some life again.

Avery Bowman served up Haley Reeg in the middle and a pair of Scot errors followed. Reeg and Elisabeth Smith combined for a stuff, and the momentum shifted to Meredith forcing a timeout from Maryville. The teams played point-for-point until a trio of winners gave the Scots match-point. But Delano landed a blast, Emily Skoglund served up an ace, and a Maryville turnover evened the match at 24.

MCVB defended two more match-points from the Scots until Reeg crushed one in the middle, and Delano finished off the set with a service winner for a 1-0 Meredith advantage.

The Avenging Angels held on to the momentum through much of the second frame, but the Scots made a steady climb to even the set at 11, 13, and 15 points. A pair of MVC missteps along with a kill from E. Smith pushed the Angels ahead, but the Scots remained close. Ally Copenhaver landed a kill from the outside, and back-to-back Scot errors kept the run alive. Delano and Copenhaver squashed the next Scot attack, as the Angels moved ahead 2-0.

The Avenging Angels appeared to be headed to a straight-set win, but Maryville rose to the challenge. Even at 23, the Angels gave away a point at the service line, but managed to save match-point on the next play with another Corey kill. Scot's Hester-Taylor landed a kill in the gap and paired up with Brianne Sidner to extend the match to a fourth frame. 

The Scots came out swinging in the fourth set and held an early 8-3 advantage. Barkley called for a break, and Corey opened a 3-0 series with a kill. Lauren Phillips landed a service winner, and Delano crushed a solo block to pull the Avenging Angels to within two.

But Meredith gave away the next two points, and the Scots maintained control of the frame. A wide attempt finally gave the ball back to MCVB and Samantha Smith served a winner to keep Meredith moving forward. Corey landed one at the far edge of the three-meter line to pull the Angels back to within one and landed another in center back to even the set at 12s. Delano and Corey blocked the outside, but the battle continued as both teams refused to back down.

Down by two at 20-18 Barkley called for her second timeout to settle down her players. The strategy worked as MCVB rallied to a 23-20 lead, and Delano put away the win five-points later.

Reeg put down 12 kills with three blocks, and Bowman tallied four to go along with her match-high 34 assists. Phillips and Skoglund combined for 30 digs.

Maryville's Sidner recorded 13 kills, and the Scot setter-duo in Bonee and Taylor Youell distributed 18 assists apiece.

Saturday's USA South Championship match is slated for a 3 p.m. start. Fans are asked to enter campus from Faircloth Street to avoid the college's homecoming parade.

Admission will be charged to enter all USA South Tournament games (general adult admission $6, faculty/staff/student/child/senior admission $3).

USA South Volleyball Tournament Website | Tournament Bracket