Payton Tipton (Cleveland, Tenn.) awed the crowd for the majority of the last three sets with defense that sent her sprawling out on the gym floor. The freshman finished the night with a new season and career-high 28 digs. In three of her four games, Tipton recorded eight or more digs after a nine-dig first set. She ended the night with eight digs in the final frame, including one that sent her horizontal with the hardwood to bring the crowd to its feet with five points left before clinching the victory.
"Payton was unbelievable tonight," said Head Coach Chris Toomey. "She really sparked us at the right time and made some big plays for the team. I think the crowd's reaction to her play summed it up pretty well."
King (12-11, 6-4) finished the match with nine team blocks. Mariah Herington (Jonesborough, Tenn.) led the team with four block assists, registering two in both the first and final sets. Sarah Van Goethem added three block assists and one solo stop in addition to her 16.5 points on the night. Kirsten Hamel (Weaverville, N.C.) added two block assists and one solo block.
Van Goethem led the Lady Tornado with 14 kills on 35 attacks (.229) accompanying her 10 digs. She now has seven double-doubles on the season and two in her last three matches. The junior has tallied double-digit dig totals in her last three games and in five of her last six.
The Lady Tornado had nine service aces with both Kirsten Hamel and Shannon Earwood (Carson City, Nev.) registered three apiece. Earwood also posted 38 assists, five kills, four digs and two block assists in an all-around excellent match.
"It was good to get back on track," said Toomey. "Even with a slow start, finishing strong like we did was an encouraging sign. We just need to build off of it and keep it going tomorrow."
Ashley Pittman (Norris, Tenn.) put together 10 kills to begin a new streak of consecutive games with 10 or more kills. Previous to the Lees-McRae game on Oct. 11, Pittman had strung together 10 straight games with 10 or more kills with two games of more than 20 successful attacks in a game.
Mariah Herington and Kelsey Griffitts each contributed seven kills in the win. Griffitts came on late hitting at a 50 percent clip in both the third and fourth sets, also adding a block assist in each game.
The Lady Tornado will play twice on Saturday, Oct. 15 in the team's tri-match that features St. Andrews Presbyterian College and Mars Hill College at the Student Center Complex. King will open with the St. Andrews Knights at 12 noon before breaking for the Mars Hill/St. Andrews match at 2:00 p.m. King will retake the floor at 4:00 p.m. against Mars Hill for the final match of the night.
Toomey continued, "With the energy and support from a strong fan base on Family Weekend, we hope to ride the momentum into Saturday. We can't take any sets off against either team if we expect to win."
Family Weekend activities will be taking place all over campus as early as 8:00 a.m. when the College features their "King For a Day" showcase for students interested in attending King. Various activities for those of all ages can be found across campus in addition to five athletic events occurring on Saturday. Men's and women's soccer will also be in action when the Tornado host the Pfeiffer Falcons at Parks Field. The women's team will kickoff at 2:00 p.m. with the men to follow at 4:00 p.m., tentatively.
Women's wrestling will have their first home meet of the season when Missouri Baptist and Missouri Valley College make their way to the Student Center for a 9:00 a.m. start on Sunday, Oct. 16.
Webcasts will be available for all King events and the Mars Hill/St. Andrews volleyball match through the online home of King Athletics, www.KingTornado.com. All webcasts are provided free of charge.