Tornado sweep Saint Augustine's and Converse

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King University women's volleyball team continued to play at a high level on Wednesday when the swept a pair of matches at a home triangular. The Tornado first defeated nonconference foe Saint Augustine's University 25-11, 25-17, 25-19 before topping Conference Carolinas opponent Converse College 25-13, 25-21, 25-17 to sweep the day.

King quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Saint Augustine's (9-16) behind kills by Maribeth Kern and Kelsey Griffitts and a Casey Williams service ace. The lead grew to 8-3 following a Payton Tipton service ace, and Griffitts gave King a commanding 21-8 lead with one of her four kills in the set. Kern and Grace Underwood capped the 25-11 set win consecutive kills.

The Tornado used a 4-0 run early in the third set to gain separation. Lauren Willoughby, Ashton Beckner and Olivia Underwood all registered kills on the spurt that gave King a 7-3 lead. The Tornado gradually extended the lead, and Hanna Bug Smyth gave King a 23-14 lead with one of her two kills in the match while Sarah Collins capped the 25-17 win with one of her three kills in the match.

The Falcons (9-16) jumped ahead early in the third set, but Willoughby brought the Tornado back with three straight kills. Tipton capped the 4-0 run, and brought King within 6-5 with a service ace. Beckner finally evened the set at 8-8 before Jordan Baty gave King a 10-9 lead with one of her four kills in the match. Trailing 15-14, King went on another run, this one sparked by a Collins kill. Beckner followed with a kill and Willoughby capped the 8-0 run with another kill to give King a 22-15 advantage. After Baty gave King a chance a set point, Blair Fields ended the 25-19 win with a service ace.

Willoughby led the Tornado with 10 kills while Olivia Underwood dished out 31 assists. Tipton posted a team-high 10 digs and four aces while Grace Underwood had a team-high five aces.

The Tornado offense started on a on a high note in the nightcap as Kern and Summer Kremer registered back-to-back kills to spark an 8-0 run to give King an early 9-1 lead. A Kern ace and a kill by Griffitts ended the spurt. King's lead grew to 13-3 before Converse (6-22, 5-11 CC) started to make a comeback. The Valkyries got within 14-9 before the Tornado (27-4, 15-1 CC) began to extend the lead. Griffitts put King up 24-11 with a kill before Converse scored a pair of points. However, Kern ended the 25-13 win with her fourth kill of the set.

The second set was tight until the Tornado went on a 4-0 run after the score was tied at 10. Griffitts accounted for two kills on the spurt while Kremer registered one put away. King then score four straight more points, capped by two Tipton service aces to take a commanding 18-12 lead. The Valkyries made, but King weathered the storm to take the set 25-21.

King held a slim 9-7 lead in the third set before Willoughby sparked the Tornado offense with her second consecutive kill. Baty capped the 6-0 run with only kill of the match to give King a 15-7 lead. The Tornado gradually extended their lead, and Willoughby ended the 25-17 win with her fifth kill of the final set.

Griffitts paced the King offense with 11 kills on 14 attempts against just two errors for a .643 attack percentage. Kremer chipped in with 10 kill while Tipton registered a match-high 12 digs. Olivia Underwood dished a team-high 39 assists in the win.

The win pushes King's winning streak to seven matches, a streak that kill will put on the line again on Friday when they host Baron College at 7:00 p.m. in the Student Center Complex. The Tornado will then host Mount Olive College and Virginia Intermont College at 2:00 p.m.,  and 6:00 p.m., respectively.