by Doug Page
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Barton College women's volleyball team completed its opening weekend of Conference Carolinas action with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 26-24) sweep of Lees-McRae College inside Williams Gymnasium on Saturday.
Barton (5-11, 2-0) used a balanced offensive attack to hold off the Bobcats after LMC tallied 22 points in the opening set and 24 points in the third set. Lees-McRae (3-11, 0-1) dropped its first league contest of the season after hitting .032 as a team in the match.
Senior Haley Headley recorded a career-high 13 kills while hitting .500 in the match for the Bulldogs. Sophomore Kaytlin Elkins added 12 kills and nine digs for BC, while junior Kelsey Riquelme tallied six kills and two solo blocks. Freshman Sarah Kirk recorded a career-high 38 assists while notching a double-double for Barton with 10 digs.
Caitlyn Smirne paced Lees-McRae with nine kills and 11 digs in the match. Logan Slusher added seven kills for the Bobcats, while Ellissa Small and Lexi Zangari each notched five kills. Megan Gallion delivered a team-high 22 assists for the Bobcats, while Allie Cunningham recorded 10 digs.
Barton would open a five-point cushion over the Bobcats in the first set following a 3-0 run. Headley and junior Santana Mestas highlighted the run with a block to make it 12-7. Trailing 13-9, Lees-McRae used a 7-0 run to steal momentum away from Barton and take a 16-13 lead. BC ended the run by the Bobcats following a timeout to make it 16-14.
A kill from Small gave LMC a 20-16 advantage before Barton rallied to take the momentum back in the set. A kill from Headley started a 7-0 run for the Bulldogs that would be capped with a block from Riquelme to make it 23-20. Leading 24-22, Headley secured the victory in the first set with a kill to put BC up 1-0 in the match.
The second set featured a pair of 3-0 rallies from Lees-McRae, with the first knotting the score 8-8 and the second making it 11-11. Trailing 15-14, Mestas delivered a kill for Barton to start a 4-0 run and give the Bulldogs an 18-15 edge. The Bobcats trimmed the deficit later in the set to 21-19 but would see BC go on a 4-0 run to end the set and secure a 25-19 victory.
Leading the match 2-0, BC looked to complete the sweep of the Bobcats in the third set. Lees-McRae did its best to prolong the match, using a 4-0 run midway through the set to take a 19-15 advantage and force the Bulldogs to call a timeout. A kill from Mestas gave Barton a 24-23 lead late in the set before Lees-McRae delivered a kill of its own to knot the score 24-24. A kill from Kirk followed by another kill from Kendall clinched the 3-0 sweep for Barton to go along with a 26-24 victory in the set.
The Bulldogs open a three-game homestand on Tuesday night with a 7 p.m. matchup against Mount Olive inside Wilson Gymnasium. Barton then hosts King on Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. and Chowan on Oct. 2 at 6 p.m.