Friday, November 19, 2010

Flagler downs AASU 3-1; Defending champion Saints advance to regional semi-finals

Wingate, N.C.----The defending NCAA Division II Southeast Region volleyball champion Flagler College Saints topped the seventh-seeded Pirates of Armstrong Atlantic State University in quarterfinal action Friday afternoon in Cuddy Arena. The Saints won by scores of 25-17, 25-17, 22-25 and 25-23 to improve to 28-8 overall and advance to the regional semi-final to take on Carson-Newman College. AASU ends its season at 22-14 overall.

Senior middle blocker Meg Weathersby (Maitland, Fla.) had 14 kills, 11 digs and seven blocks to lead the Flagler attack. Sophomore outside hitter Dianna Craine (Oshawa, Ontario) added 13 kills, nine digs and three blocks for the Saints, while sophomore middle blocker Crystal Niederriter (Merritt Island, Fla.) contributed nine kills and a .368 hitting percentage. Junior setter Olivia Snipes (Easley, S.C.) had 22 assists, while senior setter Rebecca Royal (Green Cove Springs, Fla.) added 18 assists and five blocks.
Senior outside hitter Gwendolyn Clarke (Superior, Colo.) and sophomore outside hitter Amanda Jones (Marietta, Ga.) had 14 kills each to lead the Armstrong Atlantic State attack. Freshman outside hitter Jessica Santaniello (Boca Raton, Fla.) added nine kills and nine digs. Freshman setter Megan Pando (Oviedo, Fla.) registered 44 assists, while junior libero Casey Howett (Brooks, Ga.) collected a match-high 14 digs.

The Saints jumped out to an early 8-3 lead in the opening set, capped by a Weathersby kill. The Pirates would get no closer than five the rest of the way. A Craine kill made it 21-13. Royal capped the opening frame with a kill. The Saints hit .323 in the first set.

A kill from Santaniello gave the Pirates a 13-10 lead in the second set. Flagler used a 6-0 run to take a 17-14 lead. Weathersby got it started with a kill, while Royal assisted on three consecutive blocks to cap the spurt. Another 5-0 run pushed the lead to 22-15. Craine started it with a kill, while Royal added another block. The Saints concluded the second set on an AASU error.

The Pirates jumped out to a 15-8 lead in the third set, finished by kills from Santaniello and Clarke. Another Clarke kill put AASU on top 22-15. Flagler scored the next five points to cut the lead to two, getting kills from four different players in the flurry. A Clarke kill put the Pirates on top 24-21, while Santaniello finished the set with a kill.

Defending champ Flagler tops AASU 3-1 in NCAA regional quarter-finals – 2/2/2

A block from Clarke, followed by a kill from Jones, gave AASU a 12-8 lead in the fourth frame. Another Jones kills, along with a Flagler error gave the Pirates a 16-12 advantage. Flagler answered by scoring the next four points, tying the set at 16 on a kill from Royal. No team would lead by more than two the rest of the way. A kill from Santaniello tied the set at 22. Niederriter answered with a kill to make it 23-22, while an AASU error made it 24-22. The Pirates cut the lead to one on a Flagler error. The Saints responded by finishing the match with an Armstrong Atlantic error.

Flagler hit .216, with 52 kills and 22 errors in 139 swings. AASU had 47 kills and 27 errors in 138 attacks for a hitting percentage of .145. Craine had three of Flagler’s six aces on the day, while Jones had two to lead the way for the Pirates.
Flagler will take on Carson-Newman College at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the regional semi-finals. The match will take place in Cuddy Arena, with the winner advancing to the regional title match Sunday night at 7 p.m.

            (Wingate University assistant sports information director Hugh Patton wrote this article. Patton is a 2006 Wingate graduate with a B.A. degree in Communication Studies.)

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