Patriots extend winning streak before conference

Cameron Tindel, Sports Editor

Junior Emily Sears had a stand out performance, bringing in 18 kills, and Rebekah Davis junior libero brought out the power shovel, digging up a season-high 28 balls as Francis Marion University took home a four-set win over Erskine College, 25-20, 29-27, 27-29, 25-11, Friday afternoon (Sept. 13) protecting their home floor in non-conference women’s volleyball action.

Head coach Pat MacDonald was very pleased with the performances from both Sears and Davis and expects it to be a trend for matches to come.

“Rebekah and Emily really brought great offensive performances,” MacDonald said.  “Emily has a big arm and is not afraid to use it.  Davis is accustomed to these; she’s team leader.  We always expect to have these types of performances, and we’re glad the girls stepped up in the way they did.”

Senior Jessica Imbimbo racked up a double-double with 11 kills and 16 digs, while sophomore Alexzandra Reed also chipped in with 11 kills. Junior setter Sloane Shank contributed greatly as well with a whopping 28 assists in three sets, while senior Kailey Smith tallied 11 assists in only one set of action.

Junior Caitlin Bullock and freshman A.J. Campbell led Erskine (1-4), each bringing in 15 kills apiece.  Bullock also managed to put 14 digs on the stat sheet, while junior setter Megan Johnson dished out an impressive 40 assists and dug up a team-high 21 balls in the losing effort.

The Patriots recorded the last three points of the opening set to go ahead 1-0 and later overcame a late six-point deficit to take away the second set 29-27.  Erskine managed to take the win in set three by erasing a 22-19 FMU advantage to win 29-27.  Imbimbo served 10 times during a crowd-inspiring 10-0 Patriot run in set four to help the Patriots pull away to a 25-11 victory.

The Patriots open the season 4-1 for the third time in the past four and have won three straight since losing to Newberry.  MacDonald felt that his team was very motivated after taking the loss and has been focused since.

“We talked about what happened during loss,” MacDonald said. “The hustle was there.  Just a few improvements needed to be made, and we made them. We want to get better after every game. We set out to play better; the girls took the message and played better.”

The Patriots will begin Peach Belt Conference play this coming week as they take on both Lander and USC Aiken as part of a three game road trip.

MacDonald said he believes that his team will be prepared for the trip.

“We really take each match game by game,” MacDonald said.  “Each team is very different. We don’t worry too much about the games being on the road and things like that.  We just have to be prepared game by game.”