by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – In a rematch of the 2016 Conference Carolinas championship, the Barton College women's volleyball team defeated Erskine College in straight sets on Tuesday night at Wilson Gym, 25-18, 25-23, 25-23. Barton advances to the semifinals of the 2017 Conference Carolinas Tournament with the win.
The Lady Bulldogs improve their overall record to 21-7 on the season, while Erskine drops to 2-23 overall. BC and Erskine faced each other for the fifth consecutive time in the conference tournament, with the eventual champion coming between the two sides each of the last three seasons.
Barton will host both semifinal matches on Saturday, Nov. 11, as the highest remaining seed of the final four teams. The Lady Bulldogs will face Southern Wesleyan University at 7:30 p.m. inside Wilson Gymnasium. The Warriors advanced after defeating King University, 3-0.
The other semifinal match with feature Belmont Abbey College, who defeated Limestone College 3-1 on Tuesday night and North Greenville University, who swept Mount Olive in straight-sets, 3-0. Belmont Abbey and North Greenville will face each other beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The championship match is scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m.
Freshman Kaytlin Elkins paced the Lady Bulldogs offensively with a match-high 17 kills while adding eight digs and four aces. Senior Miranda Miller recorded a double-double for BC with 10 kills and 15 digs on the night.
Junior Angelica Acevedo notched another double-double for Barton, tallying a match-high 31 assists to go with 10 digs, while freshman Ashley Owen registered three aces and six digs for the Lady Bulldogs. Redshirt junior Riley Bane delivered a match-high 18 digs for BC.
Erskine was led by a team-high eight kills from Faith Grant, while Reilly Bartlett tallied a team-high 12 assists to go along with six digs for the Flying Fleet. Katie Blitch added a team-high 12 digs for Erskine.
Barton jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the opening set against the Flying Fleet as Elkins delivered a kill for BC. Erskine used a 3-0 run to trim the deficit to 6-4. A kill by junior Haley Headley sparked a 5-0 run for BC to widen its lead to 16-7. The Flying Fleet found some momentum, using a 3-0 rally to cut the Barton lead to 18-13. Elkins and BC responded with a 3-0 run to take a 21-13 advantage in the set. Headley secured the set and 25-18 win for Barton with a kill after back-to-back points from Erskine.
The Lady Bulldogs found themselves trailing early in the second set as a three-point run gave Erskine a 9-5 lead. BC countered with a 3-0 to pull within a point of the Flying Fleet. Consecutive kills from Rebecca Massengill gave Erskine its largest lead of the set, 17-12, and forced Barton to use its second timeout. With things down to the wire in the set, the Lady Bulldogs found some energy, going on a 4-0 to knot the score and eventually take the set after consecutive aces from Elkins.
Erskine held an early lead in the third set as well, taking a two-point advantage after a kill by Kayla Duncan. BC rallied to even the score 6-6, and eventually take an 8-7 lead. Holding a 20-16 lead, Barton seemed to have control of the set, until the Flying Fleet pieced together a 3-0 run to trim the deficit to 20-19. Both sides saw the score knotted at 22-22 and 23-23 before BC recorded back-to-back points to complete the sweep and record the 25-23 victory.
Barton posted its fourth-straight win and is 1-0 on the season against Southern Wesleyan. The Lady Bulldogs posted a 3-2 win over the Warriors at home on Sept. 23, coming back from a 2-0 deficit in the match.