FLORENCE, SC – Playing with as many as four freshmen on the floor on some occasions, Francis Marion University suffered through growing pains as the Patriots dropped a pair of matches on Friday (Aug. 24) as part of the Coker/FMU Invitational Volleyball Tournament. FMU came up just short in a five-set nail-biter to Catawba College (25-16, 19-25, 25-15, 19-25, 15-9) in the season opener and then lost a hard-fought 25-17, 28-26, 25-20 decision to Anderson University in the night cap.
The Patriots will return to the Smith University Center court for two more matches on Saturday, hosting Lees-McRae College at 1 p.m. and Queens University of Charlotte at 7 p.m. Tournament action will begin at 9 a.m. and continue through FMU's nightcap contest. Admission is free.
In the opener against Catawba (2-0), senior Georgia Garrison and freshman Alyssa Hansen each pounded out 16 kills. Both completed a double-double during the match as Hansen tallied 13 digs and Garrison 12. Senior setter Carrie McGinnis (24) and freshman setter Finn Millians (23) combined for 47 assists, while junior libero Natalie Vaughn dug up a team-high 26 balls.
Freshman 6-2 middle blocker Iyanla Thigpen led FMU with five blocks coming off the bench.
After falling behind two-sets-to-one, Francis Marion led from start to finish in set four to force the deciding fifth set. The score was tied on three occasions in set five, the final time at 3-3, before the Indians took the lead for good with back-to-back kills.
In the second contest against Anderson (2-0), Garrison led the Patriots with nine kills and 14 digs, while Hansen added six kills and seven digs. McGinnis handed out 12 assists, while Millians dished out 11. Thigpen added five more blocks to help the FMU defense.
The match featured 22 ties and seven lead changes, including the marathon second set.
Anderson University def. Francis Marion Univ. 25-17,28-26,25-20
Anderson University (2-0) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Jayln Knight 16-0-1;
Kaitlyn Grube 15-1-1; Kathryn Hughes 6-0-0; Noelle Knutsen 3-0-2;
Emily Conlin 3-5-0; Hailee Wilhelm 3-0-0; Neely Shugart 1-0-1; Regan
Duty 1-0-0; Emily Conard 0-1-0; Totals 48-7-3.0. (Assists) - Emily
Conlin 43. (Dig leaders) - Kaitlyn Grube 14; Emily Conard 14; Jayln
Knight 11; Emily Conlin 9
Francis Marion Univ. (0-2) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Georgia Garrison
9-0-1; Alyssa Hansen 6-0-1; Madison Taylor 5-0-1; Courtney Abdur-Rahim
4-1-1; Iyanla Thigpen 3-0-5; Kayla Arthur 1-0-0; Carrie McGinnis
0-0-1; Finn Millians 0-2-0; Alexis Watts 0-1-0; Totals 28-4-6.0.
(Assists) - Carrie McGinnis 12; Finn Millians 11. (Dig leaders) -
Georgia Garrison 14; Alexis Watts 9
Site: Florence, SC (Smith Univ. Center) Date: Aug 24, 2018 Attend: 127 Time: 1:24
Referees: Gabby Beinlich, Tony Hill Line judges: Adie May, Jessica Harney
Liberos: Vaughn (FMU), Watts (FMU), Conard (AU)
Catawba College def. Francis Marion Univ. 25-16,19-25,25-15,19-25,15-9
Catawba College (2-0) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Jade Brooks 17-0-1;
Kimberly Hurtado 11-0-3; Allie Grubb 11-1-1; Macy Eidenberger 7-0-0;
Morgan Hester 6-2-1; Micah Ensor 5-0-1; Abby Benton 0-3-0; Totals
57-6-4.0. (Assists) - Morgan Hester 39. (Dig leaders) - Allison Benton
26; Morgan Hester 17; Micah Ensor 17; Jade Brooks 11; Abby Benton 9
Francis Marion Univ. (0-1) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Alyssa Hansen 16-0-2;
Georgia Garrison 16-1-0; Kayla Arthur 6-1-2; Madison Taylor 6-0-1;
Courtney Abdur-Rahim 5-2-2; Iyanla Thigpen 2-0-5; Carrie McGinnis
1-0-1; Totals 52-4-7.0. (Assists) - Carrie McGinnis 24; Finn Millians
23. (Dig leaders) - Natalie Vaughn 26; Kayla Arthur 13; Alyssa Hansen
13; Georgia Garrison 12; Finn Millians 8
Site: Florence, SC (Smith Univ. Center) Date: Aug 24, 2018 Attend: 262 Time: 1:53
Referees: Tony Hill, Joey Asis Line judges: Karson Parker, Jennifer Polak
Liberos: Vaughn (FMU), Benton (CC)