BREVARD, N.C. — The fifth-seeded Newberry Wolves advanced to the 2012 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament with a 3-2 (21-25, 28-26, 25-20, 20-25, 15-11) win over the fourth-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne Bears in Boshamer Gym on Friday afternoon.
With the win, Newberry (18-13) advances to the conference semifinals for just the third time in program history, where the Wolves facede top-seeded Wingate (27-2) on Saturday. The Wolves’ win was also crucial in the NCAA qualification process, as the Bears were seeded sixth and Newberry was seeded seventh in the final rankings.
Samantha Parrish (Angola, Ind.) led the Wolves with 22 kills and 26 digs, while Elayni Stokes (Houston, Texas) was outstanding defensively with a match-high 27 digs. Lauren Prachar (Fort Wayne, Ind.) had a double-double with 15 kills and 14 digs and Jessica King (Los Angeles, Calif.) had 11 kills. Madison Schultz (Decatur, Ind.) had nine kills without an error, hitting .474 in the match.
The entire match was tight throughout, with 39 ties and 17 lead changes. The first set was tied as late as 17-17 before a 6-0 L-R surge. Newberry got back to within three points at 24-21 before the Bears put away set point. L-R outhit Newberry .212 to .089 in the set. Parrish led the Wolves with six kills.
In the second set, Schultz and Amanda Soper (Simi Valley, Calif.) powered the offense as Newberry jumped out to a 7-1 lead before the Bears responded to tie the set at 10-all. Lenoir-Rhyne led at 17-13, but Newberry powered back to tie the set at 20-all. Lenoir-Rhyne held set point at 26-25 before the Wolves rattled off three straight points to tie the match at a set apiece. Schultz and Soper each had five kills in the set.
Parrish’s offense led the Wolves to a 2-1 lead with seven kills in the third set. The set was tied at 14-all before a five-point Newberry run gave the Wolves the lead for the rest of the set. The Wolves hit .205 in the set, compared to L-R’s .024.
The Bears were not done though, and rallied to force the fifth set. Newberry led 13-11 before the Bears went on a 5-0 run to take a lead they would not relinquish. Newberry got as close as 20-19 but L-R closed the set on a 4-1 run to force the fifth set. Lenoir-Rhyne hit .167 in the set and held Newberry to .091. Prachar had five kills in the set to lead the Wolves.
In the fifth set, Newberry hit .280 and a mid-set surge pushed the Wolves to the semifinals. After a 7-all tie, Newberry scored three straight points to take the lead for good. Lenoir-Rhyne got to within 11-10, but four of the last five points went Newberry’s way, with a thunderous Parrish kill appropriately putting the match away.