by Doug Page
AIKEN, S.C. – The first of two matches on Saturday for the Barton College women's volleyball team wouldn't go the way of the Bulldogs as the Lander University Bearcats recorded a 3-0 (25-11, 25-23, 25-22) victory on the second day of the USC Aiken Invitational.
Barton (3-10) held late leads in both the second and third sets on Saturday against the Bearcats but wouldn't be able to close out Lander in the end. Lander (9-2) recorded its seventh three-set victory of the season and got a combined 28 kills from Kaitlyn Krafka and Hannah Hritz.
The Bulldogs were paced by another double-digit kill performance from sophomore Kaytlin Elkins in the match as she notched 10 to go along with nine digs. Senior Angelica Acevedo added 12 assists and 13 digs for BC, while freshman Sarah Kirk tallied 10 assists and a team-high 16 digs. Freshman Peyton Kendall also recorded six kills for Barton.
Krafka finished with 15 digs to go along with her 14 kills for Lander, while Hritz tallied two digs to add to her 14 kills. Madilyn Reed delivered a match-high 36 assists and 18 digs for the Bearcats, while Kyra Ross added nine kills and nine digs in the match.
Lander would lead wire-to-wire in the opening set of the match and opened things with a 7-1 run. The Bearcats opened their lead to 10-3 before BC rallied to trim the deficit to 11-7. Barton looked to close the gap even more until Lander went on a 3-0 run to extend its advantage to 16-8. The lead would jump to 24-10 before Barton got a kill from Elkins to extend the set another point. Hritz ended the set with a kill off an assist from Reed to secure the 25-11 victory.
Barton took a lead halfway through the second set following an ace from freshman Brittany Silance. The lead would stretch to 14-9 in the set before a pair of attacking errors gave the Bearcats some momentum. BC would in the set until Lander knotted the score 23-23 off a service error from the Bulldogs. The miscue would pave the way for Lander to rally for consecutive points to take the set, 25-23.
The Bearcats opened an early lead in the third set but would see the Bulldogs rally to keep things close and eventually take a lead late in the set. A kill by Kendall gave BC an 18-17 lead only to see the set get tied once again off a service error. Lander took the lead for good following a kill from Krafka that made it 20-19. Barton rallied to trim the deficit to 24-22 after an ace from Acevedo. Lander capped off the sweep with a kill from Hritz to preserve the 25-22 victory.
The Bulldogs continue their play in the USC Aiken Invitational on Saturday against USC Aiken at 7 p.m. Video and live stats will be available for the match with links posted on the Barton women's volleyball schedule page at www.bartonbulldogs.com.