Lady Tornado Battle with Top Tier Armstrong Team, Fall in Three

Freshman Lauren Willoughby helped King stay within reach of nationally-recognized Armstrong Atlantic with her team-leading nine kills.

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Against a team that ranks just outside of the top-25 AVCA Coaches' Poll, the King Lady Tornado held its own in a battle with Armstrong Atlantic State University. Lauren Willoughby led the team with nine kills in a three-set loss (25-19, 25-20, 25-16) to the Pirates at the Eagle Invitational, hosted by Carson-Newman College.

King and Armstrong played to a 10-10 before Christina Chow led the Pirates on an eight-point breakaway to create distance from the Lady Tornado. Lauren Willoughby (Cary, N.C.) ended the streak with her third kill of the set, but the Pirates continued their 11-3 run into the latter moments of the set. King brought it back to within four points, 23-19, behind a pair of attack errors by both Amanda Jones and Jessica Santaniello plus two kills from junior Mariah Herington (Jonesborough, Tenn.). Armstrong Atlantic pulled away with the final two points for a 25-19 first-set win.

Tied at 19 points each in the second set after King had two leads of three points or more, Armstrong cashed in on a three-point swing behind kills from Carina Marinho and Brittany Wolf to take a 23-19 lead in the second set. Sophomore Summer Kremer (Mills River, N.C.) posted her fourth kill of the game to bring King back within three, but a stop at the net by Marinho and Wolf ended the second, 25-20, in favor of the Pirates.

Willoughby posted four more kills in the third set, totaling a team-high nine for the night, but the effort was not enough to overcome the Pirate attack. The freshman hit at a .214 clip to lead the team and was one kill away from her first double-digit kill match of her career.

Summer Kremer finished the night with seven kills while Olivia Underwood (Pearland, Texas) led the team with 17 assists from the front line.

As a team, King equaled their opponent's block total, each registering two solo and six block assists in the match.

Armstrong Atlantic entered the weekend ranked just outside of the top-25 in the latest AVCA Coaches' Poll, receiving 30 total votes for the 29th position in NCAA Division II. With the win, they maintain their undefeated season, 5-0, heading into Saturday's action.

King (3-3) will continue at the Eagle Invitational with two contests on Saturday, Sept. 8. They will play Francis Marion at 2 p.m. and conclude with Lincoln Memorial at 6 p.m. from the Holt Fieldhouse in Jefferson City, Tenn.