Tigerville, S.C.—Senior Abigail Frame dished out 40 assists and recorded 20 digs on defense propelling the Crusaders past Less-McRae 3-1 (28-26, 15-25, 25-13, 31-29) securing the Crusaders their first ever birth in the Conference Carolinas post season tournament.
The Crusaders took an early 6-2 lead in the opening set after blocks from Samantha Del Toro and Abigail Frame landed between Bobcat defenders. Lees-McRae would cut the NGU lead to 8-6 but a 4-2 run would force the Bobcats to call their first timeout of the set. The Crusaders opened up a six point lead out of the timeout taking a 16-10 advantage but a pesky Bobcat pack scored on three straight attempts to cut NGU’s lead to just three. An unforced error out of an NGU timeout cut the Crusader lead to just two, but the Bobcats gave the three point advantage right back on an ensuing service error. The
Crusaders clung to a two point lead but the Bobcats scored two straight points late to tie the game at 19. NGU would exit a timeout and take a 20-19 lead, before Lees-McRae took their first lead 21-20 since leading 1-0 to start the game. The Crusaders would later take a 24-21 lead on a kill and block from Yomi Adeyeye but the Bobcats once again fought back to tie the game at 24-24. The Crusaders would eventually walk away with a set one win after an errant serve and a receiving error from Lees-McRae.
The Bobcats would not shy away from the Crusaders and in set two, jumping out to a demanding 10-3 lead. North Greenville eventually cut the lead to four scoring three straight. The Bobcats responded with a 5-1 run of their own ballooning their lead to 18-10. NGU would cut the lead to five once more, but Lees-McRae would end any suspense with a 9-5 run to close out the Crusaders in set two, and tie the overall score at 1-1. The Bobcats were led by Taylor Clendenin who five kills in the set. Clendenin finished with 16 kills on the day for LMC.
Rachel Gretcher also had double figure kills for the Bobcats with 11. Clendenin finished the day with a double-double after picking up 12 digs to go along with her kills. Megan Mitchell quarterbacked the offense for Lees-McRae dishing out 40 assists. Sariah Suryadevara led the Bobcats on defense with 15 digs while Lauren Fox recorded 5 block assists at the net.
The Crusaders regained their composure in set two and sprinted out to an early 7-3 lead, forcing the Bobcats to call a quick timeout. The Crusaders stayed on top and extended their lead to 12-5 after a powerful block from Seheres and a Rebekah Mayes Kill. A Megan Steading service ace and an attack error compounded the Crusaders lead to 15-6 compelling the Bobcats to take their final timeout of the set. The Bobcats reversed the roles out of the timeout scoring three straight to cut NGU’s lead to 15-9. Lees-McRae would cut the lead to 5 before a Rebekah Mayes kill sparked a rally in which NGU scored three straight to regain an 8 point advantage. The Crusaders would go on to take set three 25-13 on the momentum of Yomi Adeyeye’s four kills.
NGU once again jumped out to a quick lead in set four taking a 4-0 advantage, but the Bobcats responded with a 4-0 run to tie the frame. The Crusaders and Bobcats stayed deadlocked in a back and forth one point game for much of the frame. The Crusaders held the one point advantage for a substantial period until a Del Toro block gave NGU a 14-12 lead. The Bobcats would later take their first lead of the night after scoring three straight to take a 15-14 advantage. North Greenville would tie the game at 15 but Lees-McRae would quickly take what seemed to be a solid 18-15 lead.
Lees-McRae would eventually take a 20-18 lead before the Crusaders scored three straight to tie the set at 21-21. The set would once again take on a competitive one point advantage as the two squads stood toe to toe. NGU faced a Lees-McRae game point with the Bobcats holding a 24-23 advantage, but Yomi Adeyeye would force extra points with a kill to tie the game at 24-24. The very entertaining fourth set would continue for several more points. The Crusaders held the upper hand the entire time as the Bobcats faced game points at 26-25, 27-26, 28-27, 29-28, and 30-29. The deciding point came on a Codiann Amis serve that fell between Bobcat defenders to give the Crusaders a 31-29 win.
Lone senior Abigail Frame led the way for the Crusaders on Friday evening serving up 40 assists to go along with 20 digs for a “Senior Night” double-double. Scoring big for the Crusaders was freshman Smantha Del Toro who pounded 16 kills to lead North Greenville. Rebekah Mayes and Yomi Adeyeye were also double digit scorers with 14 kills and 11 kills respectively. Mayes also had 12 digs, giving her a double-double. Megan Steading registered 18 digs in Friday’s contest .
“Abby is a silent leader,” remarked Greg Mosely when asked about his lone senior captain Abigail Frame. “She isn’t real vocal, but she plays hard all the time. Ive never had to worry about her giving less than 100%. The girls rallied around her, and persevere through a lot of diversity in this game tonight. We took a big step tonight.”
The win over the Lees-McRae secured the Crusaders a spot in the Conference Carolinas playoffs for the first time in program history. The Crusaders improved to 8-7 on the season in league play and 16-15 overall. The Crusaders will wrap up the regular season tomorrow with a tri-match in Hayes Gymnasium starting at 1pm against Limestone, closing out the 2012 regular season Conference Carolinas schedule. NGU will end the day with a 5pm showdown with Winston Salem State.