Volleyball team drops conference opener

Armand Broady, Sports Writer

The Lander University Bearcats defeated the Francis Marion University women’s volleyball team in FMU’s first Peach Belt Conference match of the year on Friday, Sept. 23 in four games, 20-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-18.

FMU women’s volleyball coach Paul MacDonald said his team could not answer the bell towards the end.

“We just lost composure in games two through four,” MacDonald said. “If we’re going to be a good team, we have to play better down the stretch.”

Leading Lander was sophomore middle blocker Hannah Dederick, who had 17 kills. Senior right side hitter/outside hitter Mallory Wasik had 11 kills, and senior outside hitter Magi Nottingham produced eight kills. Freshman setter Jessica Register led the way in assists with 41.

For the Patriots, senior middle blocker Danielle Parker registered 12 kills and four blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Paige Perreault had 11 kills and five blocks in the match. Sophomore setter Nicole Bennett amassed 37 assists, a team high. Bennett also had 15 digs in the match, while senior libero Hallie Legg achieved her sixth 20-dig effort of the season in the loss.

As a team, the Bearcats had more kills (54-46) and aces (7-1) than the Patriots.

MacDonald gave the Bearcats a lot of credit for what he called a “very steady game.” MacDonald also said that even though there are many games left in the season, this game had special significance because it was the Patriots’ first Peach Belt Conference match.

“The match just showed us that we’ve got a lot of things to work on,” MacDonald said.

According to Hallie Legg, the loss had much meaning and was a disappointment for her young team, but Legg believes that the game won’t negatively affect FMU the rest of the way.

“It was a big game because it was our first conference game,” Legg said. “But it’s just one game, and we’re going to continue to work and just move forward.”

Legg also said that the Patriots showed too much inconsistency in the match.

The Lander victory ended a three-game losing streak. The Bearcats have key games in October as both teams prepare for important conference match-ups.

With the loss, FMU drops to 4-7 overall and 0-1 in the PBC, while Lander improves to 7-6 and 1-1 in the PBC. The Patriots have almost two-thirds of the season remaining, with key conference matches in October.