DUE WEST, S.C. – The Lander volleyball team swept rival Erskine 3-0 and rallied for a 3-1 win over West Georgia to go 2-0 on day one of the Fleet Classic on Friday. The Bearcats defeated the Flying Fleet 25-11, 25-15, 25-16 and knocked off Wolves 17-25, 25-14, 25-17, 25-22.
Kaitlyn Krafka and Kyra Ross pounded 11 kills in the win over Erskine, while Hannah Hritz added nine kills and a .467 hitting percentage to lead the Bearcats (4-1). Hannah McManus led the team with 13 digs, while Madilyn Reed posted her second straight double-double with 24 assists and 10 digs.
The Bearcats took advantage of Erskine (0-5) errors in the first set, as the Flying Fleet committed six errors during a seven-point span as Lander pulled ahead 17-6. A pair of Reilly Kuenstler kills put the Bearcats within a point of winning the set before another attack error from Erskine put Lander up 1-0. The Bearcat won 10 of the first 12 points in the second set to take control en route to a 25-15 win. Erskine managed to take its first lead of the match in set three and led 11-8 before Lander embarked on a 6-0 run, highlighted by a pair of service aces, to take a lead it would not relinquish.
In its second match of the day, Lander dropped the first set to West Georgia (3-2) 25-17 before bouncing back in the second set, as Lander won eight of the final nine points to knot the score at 1-1. After a seesaw start to the third set, a pair of Hritz kills gave the Bearcats some breathing room as Lander built an 18-10 lead and punctuated the set with another Hritz kill to move ahead 2-1. In set four, Lander surged ahead 15-4 and appeared poised to cruise to the win before the Wolves rallied to pull within a point at 23-22. However, Krafka ended the West Georgia rally with consecutive kills to seal the victory for Lander.
Kuenstler led the Bearcat attack with 15 kills, while Krafka and Hritz added 14 each. Reed posted another double-double with 26 assists and 14 digs, her third in as many matches. Nell Copeland tallied a season-high 20 assists. Hannah McManus finished with 31 digs, a season-high for the junior.
The Bearcats play UVA-Wise at 11:00 a.m. and North Greenville at 7:00 p.m. at Belk Arena on Saturday during the final day of the Fleet Classic.