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The Radford University Volleyball team traveled to South Carolina for two important Big South conference matches over the weekend. The first game to take place was against Presbyterian College on Oct. 21. The Highlanders pounded the ball across the net and took an early five to one lead with a strong offensive attack. Senior middle blocker Carly Fleming had four kills and junior opposite side hitter Emily Hayes had three kills in route to winning the first game 25-21.
The second game was a nail-biter as the Blue Hose would not go away and made RU work for everything. The Highs were down 21-20 when they went on a run. Along with the help of blocks by Fleming and sophomore outside hitter Jesse Miedema and kills by sophomore outside hitter Emily Carlin, RU regained the lead and went on a five to one run that closed out the game to give them the two to nothing game advantage going into the third game.
The third game started out close but did not remain that way. Presbyterian kept up with Radford for a while but then it all went down hill for the Blue Hose as the Highs went on to rout Presbyterian 25-12. With the sweep, the Highlanders’ record improved to 11-12 overall and 5-3 in Big South Conference play. Presbyterian College fell to 8-15 on the year and 3-5 in conference play. Fleming led RU with nine kills, a .643 attack percentage, and six total blocks in the match. Hayes and Miedema contributed as well with seven kills each. On the day, Radford had a .306 hitting percentage.
The Highlanders, ranked third in the Big South, then traveled to Winthrop University to take on the second place team in the conference on Oct. 22. The first game went back and forth with three lead changes. But after the Highs scored their 22nd point in the game, the Eagles turned up the heat and rallied to score five straight points to give them the one game advantage, 25-22.
Radford started off game two strong again with a four to one lead but Winthrop used a ten to three rally to take the lead. Winthrop would continue to hold on to that lead for the rest of the game. RU did manage to come within one point of the Eagles when the score was 13-12 but another strong offensive attack by Winthrop gave them a 22-15 lead. The Highs put up one last fight with five straight points, four of which were kills but Winthrop answered with three kills by Carolyn Weed to clinch the second game.
The third game proved to be easy for the Eagles as they led the entire game. Winthrop started strong with an eleven to three lead and the Highlanders could never recover. RU did manage to get as close as three on multiple occasions but then their momentum was stopped short as the Eagles made a push to keep them on top. Winthrop clinched the match with a 25-21 victory in the third set.
The loss dropped the Highlanders to 11-13 and 5-4. Carlin stepped up in this match with team high 10 kills and nine digs.
The Highs will have a five-day break before they hit the road again on Oct. 28 with a match against the Liberty University Flames at 7 p.m. in Lynchburg.
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