FLORENCE, SC – Senior Georgia Garrison and sophomores Kayla Arthur and Courtney Abdur-Rahim combined for 46 kills and powered Francis Marion University to a 21-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-14 win over previously unbeaten Lenoir-Rhyne University, Saturday (Sept. 8) in the final contest of the FMU Tournament.
The Patriots won all three of their matches in the two-day event and up their season mark to 8-5. FMU will play at Claflin University on Friday at 6 p.m. and will then open Peach Belt Conference play at UNC Pembroke on Saturday, Sept. 15, with a 2 p.m. first serve.
The next home match for Francis Marion will be Sept. 28 against Georgia College at 7 p.m.
Garrison led FMU with 19 kills and she had 10 digs, while Arthur recorded 14 kills and a 4.81 hitting percentage and Abdur-Rahim tallied 13 kills. Freshman 6-2 middle blocker Iyanla Thigpen chipped in seven kills and six blocks.
Freshman setter Finn Millians dished out 31 assists and posted 12 digs for her third double-double of 2018, while senior setter Carrie McGinnis added 19 assists. Junior libero Natalie Vaughn dug up a match-high 30 balls, just one day after posting a career-high 32 digs in Friday's victory over Newberry College. Vaughn also served a team-best three aces on Saturday.
Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Prall led Lenoir-Rhyne (7-1) with 17 kills and 11 digs.
After losing the opening set, FMU never trailed in the second set. A 5-0 spurt with Vaughn serving, allowed the Patriots to stretch a narrow two-point advantage to 19-12 en route to the 25-19 win.
Kills by Arthur accounted for two of Francis Marion's final three points in taking set three 25-20. The Patriots opened the fourth set by scoring eight straight points with Millians serving. The Bears rallied to within 14-11, but kills by freshman Alyssa Hansen, Garrison and Thigpen fueled a 4-0 run that eventually stretched to 11-3 and concluded the match.
Francis Marion Univ. def. Lenoir-Rhyne Univ. 21-25,25-19,25-20,25-14
Lenoir-Rhyne Univ. (7-1) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Taylor Prall 17-1-1;
Taylor Walton 8-1-2; Hannah Houston 8-1-2; Madison Asher 5-0-4; Helen
Hamilton 3-1-2; Braelyn Faust 3-0-4; Jaclyn Denny 2-0-0; Alannah
Thomas 1-0-0; Totals 47-4-8.0. (Assists) - Helen Hamilton 41. (Dig
leaders) - Ashley Hawkins 25; Bailey Cloninger 16; Taylor Prall 12;
Helen Hamilton 8
Francis Marion Univ. (8-5) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Georgia Garrison
19-1-0; Kayla Arthur 14-0-3; Courtney Abdur-Rahim 13-0-2; Iyanla
Thigpen 7-0-6; Alyssa Hansen 6-0-1; Madison Taylor 2-0-1; Finn
Millians 1-2-0; Natalie Vaughn 0-3-0; Totals 62-6-8.0. (Assists) -
Finn Millians 31; Carrie McGinnis 19. (Dig leaders) - Natalie Vaughn
30; Finn Millians 12; Georgia Garrison 10; Courtney Abdur-Rahim 9
Site: Florence, SC (Smith Univ. Center)
Date: Sep 08, 2018 Attend: 129 Time: 1:47
Referees: Debbie McLamb, Ronnie Mutter
Line judges: Taylor Johnson, Janecia Hemingway
Liberos: Vaughn (FMU), Hawkins (LRU)