by Benny Benton
BANNER ELK, N.C. – Barton College freshman Kaytlin Elkins pounded out 21 kills – the most this season for a three-set match – as the Lady Bulldogs swept host Lees-McRae College, 25-21, 25-23, 25-22, Friday evening in Williams Gymnasium.
Elkins, the Conference Carolinas leader with 4.2 kills per set, averaged nearly twice that many in leading Barton (19-7, 12-1) past the Bobcats (6-18, 3-10), collecting nine in the third set alone.
Senior Miranda Miller added 13 kills, and junior setter Angelica Acevedo collected her 18th double-double of the season with 41 assists and 11 digs. Senior Courtney Wiseman chipped in nine kills and freshman Ashley Owen produced a match-high 15 digs.
Lees-McRae was paced by nine kills and five block assists from Kaci Thornton, as well as nine kills from Elissa Small.
Barton got off to a slow start in the contest, falling behind 12-6 in the first set. Consecutive kills by Miller following a BC timeout started the Lady Bulldogs on a 10-2 run that put Barton back in front.
Lees-McRae tied the match at 17-all on a kill by Small, but a pair of LMC attack errors and a kill by Haley Headley gave BC a three-point cushion it never fully relinquished.
The Lady Bulldogs never trailed in the second frame. Barton did receive a scare after letting a 17-10 cushion slip down to a two-point margin at 20-18, but back-to-back kills by Miller put BC comfortably back in front.
The final set was a tight affair featuring four lead changes and 13 ties. The Bobcats erased a 21-17 deficit with four straight points late in the set, but two kills by Elkins and two LMC attack errors made up a 4-1 run for BC that ended the match.
Barton will play its final regular-season match on Saturday afternoon at King University. A win would give the Lady Bulldogs, already the league's North Division champions, the best overall winning percentage in the conference.