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Emmaleigh Allen
Emmaleigh Allen will lead the Bears at the NCAA Tournament, beginning Friday.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Volleyball Defeats Catawba

Lenoir-Rhyne was pushed to the limit by an upset-minded Catawba squad but the Bears would win 3-1 and became the final unbeaten team in SAC play as Anderson beat Wingate later in the evening. All three of the Bears wins came by scoring more than 25 as the Bears earned wins by counts of 26-24, 26-24 and 28-26 while the Indians took set two 25-21.

As would be the case often in this contest, Catawba didn’t go down without a fight in the first frame. The Bears led 24-20 but Catawba stormed back with four straight to force an LR timeout. The Bears would answer with back-to-back kills with the final coming off the right hand of Aasia McNeill to go up 1-0. The Indians would hit .262 in the second set as they took the 25-21 victory to even the contest at 1.

The Bears would be pushed to the brink in the third set, winning by a count of 26-24. Once again, the Bears led late — this time it was 24-21 — before the Indians drew even at 24. A block by McNeill and Kathy Peter would put LR up 2-1.

LR led by as much as 15-7 in the final set but Catawba came all the way back. With it tied at 26, an LR block and a game-winning kill from Emmaleigh Allen sent the crowd home happy.

Allen led LR with 18 kills and added 14 digs. A game after setting a career-high in kills, Cheyenne Clonch set a new personal best with 14 kills and hit .440. McNeill had 11 kills and 12 digs and Peter recorded 10 blocks and six digs.

Sydney Karjala dished out 44 assists and added 16 digs and a pair of aces.

Only five players recorded a kill on the night for LR and four recorded more than two. LR had a season high 15 service errors.

LR is 5-0 in SAC play for the second time in the past three years. The 2021 squad started out league play with six straight wins. As a team, the Bears rank seventh in the nation in digs per set.

LR has won five straight at home since dropping the home opener against Valdosta St. This was the 290th all-time win in Shuford Arena.

The Bears are 10-3 overall and 5-0 in the South Atlantic Conference. LR will return to action on Saturday with a doubleheader at North Greenville. The Bears will take on Francis Marion at 2:30 p.m. and then the host Crusaders at 5.