AIKEN, SC – Francis Marion University sophomores Alyssa Hansen (19 kills, 13 digs) and Finn Millians (71 assists, 11 digs) both posted double-doubles, but the Patriots' season came to an end with a heart-breaking five-set loss (31-29, 26-28, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11) to Lander University in the quarterfinals of the Peach Belt Conference Volleyball Tournament on Friday (Nov. 22) evening.
Francis Marion concludes its season with a record of 18-14, a five-win improvement over the 2018 campaign. Lander (20-9) advances to Saturday's semifinals.
The marathon match lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours and featured 58 ties and 26 lead changes.
Leading the Patriots was junior Kayla Arthur with a career high 22 kills, followed by 6-2 sophomore middle blocker Iyanla Thigpen with a career-high 20 kills on only 53 swings for a blistering.531 hitting percentage. Millians' assists total was also a career high and the highest single-match performance by a Patriot setter in 16 years and only 10 off the FMU single-match record of 81.
Senior libero Natalie Vaughn dug up a team-high 35 balls, and ended her FMU career among the Patriots' Top-10 all-time in digs with 1,547.
Lander was led by Kyra Ross with 25 kills and Hanna Hritz with 17 kills. Setter Madilyn Reed gave out 60 assists for the Bearcats, while libero Hanna McManus had 29 digs
The fifth and final set was tied at every number up through 11 except for five. With the score deadlocked at 11-11, Lander registered the final four points to secure the win.
Lander claimed the first set by an amazing 31-29 count. Francis Marion then rallied to even the match with a 28-26 victory in set two. A kill by Arthur and a Lander attacking error accounted for the final two points. FMU went ahead with a narrow 25-23 win in set No.3, but the Bearcats responded with a 25-20 victory in the fourth set to square the match at 2-2.
Lander University def. Francis Marion Univ. 31-29,26-28,23-25,25-20,15-11
Francis Marion Univ. (18-14) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Kayla Arthur
22-0-1; Iyanla Thigpen 20-0-1; Alyssa Hansen 19-0-3; Courtney
Abdur-Rahim 9-1-2; Lily Walton 6-4-7; Brittany Sehnke 2-0-1; Finn
Millians 1-0-1; Natalie Vaughn 0-1-0; Totals 79-6-9.0. (Assists) -
Finn Millians 71. (Dig leaders) - Natalie Vaughn 35; Courtney
Abdur-Rahim 31; Alyssa Hansen 13; Finn Millians 11
Lander University (20-9) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Kyra Ross 25-0-1;
Hannah Hritz 17-0-6; Reilly Kuenstler 14-0-7; Maya Walker 11-0-5;
Madilyn Reed 4-1-4; Maddie Reed 4-0-1; Corey Nichols 0-1-0; Boo Luther
0-3-0; Hannah McManus 0-1-0; Totals 75-6-12.0. (Assists) - Madilyn
Reed 60. (Dig leaders) - Hannah McManus 29; Kyra Ross 20; Boo Luther
19; Madilyn Reed 16
Site: Aiken, S.C. (Convocation Center)
Date: Nov 22, 2019 Attend: 138 Time: 2:25