Belmont Abbey ends King's 19-match winning streak
BELMONT, N.C. – In what was one of the biggest matches of the year, the King University women's volleyball team traveled to take on Belmont Abbey College in a raucous Wheeler Center with first place in Conference Carolinas on the line. The Crusader defense kept the King offense off balance all night en route to the 3-0 sweep, ending King's 19-match winning streak.
King (20-4, 9-1 CC) got off to an auspicious start as the Crusaders scored the first three points of the match and quickly opened up a 13-5 advantage in the first set. Maribeth Kern sparked a short Tornado spurt with a kills, but Belmont Abbey still held a sizable advantage. King was never able to make a run as the Crusaders (17-3, 10-1 CC) took the first set 25-13.
The Belmont Abbey defense continued to keep the Tornado offense off balance in the second set as they scored the first three points of the frame en route to the 25-17 set win. Trailing by seven, The Tornado scored back-to-back points on kills by Kelsey Griffitts and Summer Kremer to pull within 18-13. However, King couldn't get any closer the rest of the frame.
King looked to come alive in the third set as they took the first three points and Kern gave the Tornado a 5-1 advantage with an ace. Griffitts and Olivia Underwood stretched the lead to 7-1 with a block before the Crusaders began to come back. Kremer stretched the King lead to 9-5 with a kill before Belmont Abbey went on a 4-0 run to even the set at 9-9. However, King bounced back to gain a 12-9 lead, but the Crusaders came back again. Late the set, both teams traded 3-0 runs with Belmont Abbey taking an 18-16 advantage. At that point, the teams traded points before the Crusaders used a 4-0 run end the set at 25-21 and take the sweep.
The loss ends King's 19-match winning streak which was only five matches from the school record of 24 matches. It is also their first Conference Carolinas loss of the year, dropping them into a first place tie with Belmont Abbey.
The Crusader defense held Conference Carolinas' most potent offense to their lowest hitting percentage of the season, .050. Kremer led the Tornado offense with 10 kills while Maribeth Kern posted a team-high 15 digs.
The Tornado won't have to think about the loss long as they take on Barton College on Friday night. First serve from Wilson, N.C. is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.