by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College received a well-rounded effort led by freshman Kaytlin Elkins in sweeping Francis Marion University, 3-0, in women's volleyball action Wednesday at Wilson Gymnasium, 25-23, 26-24, 25-19.
Elkins delivered a match-high 17 kills, with 10 of those coming in a dominant third set for the Hope Mills, N.C., resident. Senior Miranda Miller added 14 kills, junior Haley Headley contributed a career-high nine and junior Allie Cullens chipped in eight for the Lady Bulldogs (4-6).
Barton also displayed balance on defense, as four players posted double-figure totals in digs. Junior setter Angelica Acevedo led the way with 16 digs in addition to her 45 assists. Junior Riley Bane and Elkins each added 12 digs, and Miller collected 11.
Francis Marion (2-5) was paced by 10 kills from Georgia Garrison. Erika Hartings added nine kills and 11 digs. Carrie McGillis produced a double-double of 30 assists and 11 digs, and Natalie Vaughn claimed a match-high 17 digs.
Barton hit a season-high .273 in the match, including a first-set effort of .405 that saw the Lady Bulldogs deliver 21 kills and just four errors.
BC never trailed in the first set. The Patriots did erase an early five-point deficit to tie the set at 16-all, but Headley collected a kill on the next point to put Barton in front again to stay. Headley, a resident of Callao, Va., had a team-high six kills in the frame.
Miller took over for the Lady Bulldogs in set two, producing six kills without an error in 15 attempts.
As a team, Barton had its worst set of the three, committing eight attack errors while hitting .136. The miscues allowed FMU to rally from multiple five-point deficits and briefly take a 20-19 lead. Consecutive attack errors also gave the Patriots two points that created a 24-all tie, but a kill by Miller and a ball handling error by Francis Marion closed out the set for BC.
Elkins, the Conference Carolinas leader in kills entering the match, took over the third set with her 10-kill frame. Six of those were recorded over Barton's final nine points as it fought to separate from the Patriots, who trailed just 16-14 as the start of her run.
Miller added five kills in the final set for a Barton side that hit .326.
Barton will open defense of its 2016 league title on Friday when it begins Conference Carolinas play with a 7 p.m. home match against Converse College. The Lady Bulldogs will play the following afternoon at 2 p.m. against Limestone College as part of Family Weekend activities.