BRISTOL, Tenn. - King College won the NCCAA Mid-East Region Volleyball Tournament Pool B thanks to a 3-0 victory over Asbury (Ky.) University on Friday to earn a spot in Saturday's semifinal.
King, the event's No. 3 seed and ranked No. 7 nationally, posted scores of 25-16, 25-20 and 25-19 to secure the top spot coming out of the pool. Asbury came into the event ranked No. 6 nationally and the No. 2 seed for the tournament.
The Lady Tornado, now at 29-8 on the season, will have to wait to see who will be in Saturday's semifinal contest. King plays the loser between top-seeded Campbellsville (Ky.) University and Oakland City (Ind.) University at noon. Asbury, with a 33-4 record, draws the winner in a 10 a.m. semifinal meeting. The two semifinal winners play at 3 p.m. to decide the region championship and the automatic bid to the NCCAA Division I National Tournament.
The match started with the teams trading points until Asbury built a 10-6 lead in the first set. King used an ace by Rachel Harding (Abindgon, Va.) to tie things at 11. A pair of errors by Asbury after the score was knotted at 13 gave King a 15-13 lead. Lindsey Burke (Nickelsville, Va.) served an ace to push the Lady Tornado advantage to three. From there King never looked back in the opener.
Once again both teams went toe to toe in game two with neither leading by more than two points until King had a 22-19 advantage. In all the set had 12 ties and 13 lead changes with the last coming after a Morgan Machen (Kingsport, Tenn.) kill to put King out front 20-19.
In the eventual finale, King jumped out to an 8-3 lead. Asbury made a run to make the score 10-7 in favor of King. When the score had the Lady Tornado in front 13-11, an Asbury timeout was called and the visiting squad got within a point. However back-to-back points from King killed the momentum. The closed Asbury could come was three points down the stretch.
Sarah Van Goethem (Aurora, Colo.) led everyone with a dozen kills. Machen ended the contest with eight.
Shannon Earwood (Carson City, Nev.) was credited with 31 assists. Amber Jones (Kingsport, Tenn.) provided a match-best eight digs with seven from Harding. Both Jones and Harding served up two aces apiece out of the Lady Tornado's eight in the match.
Kaitlyn Musick (Weber City, Va.) had four total blocks.
For Asbury, Allison Rehner and Lindsay Ibold both had six kills. Mackenzie Burke provided 13 assists.
As a team King hit .289 while Asbury posted a .110 attack percentage. Asbury had 18 attack errors with eight service errors compared to 11 King attack miscues and nine on the serving side.
Earlier in the day both King and Asbury beat No. 6 seed Tennessee Temple with matching 3-0 scores to set up the pool deciding match.
King was able to sweep Asbury for only their second 3-0 loss of the season. Asbury came into the match with 12 and 18-match winning streaks during the 2010 season. The Lady Tornado have won three straight contest with 3-0 sweeps which is one off the season high that came in early October. In the last seven matches King has a 21-2 set record.