Charleston, WV – It was another early morning for the Lake-Sumter State College volleyball team Friday. After a first round loss Thursday, the Lakehawks knocked off Oakland Community College in three sets.
It took a few points by the Raiders before LSSC got going in set one. Tied at 11-11, Lake-Sumter put it in high gear going on a scoring frenzy to take a 21-14 lead. Oakland CC was not going away easily and battled back to within two, 21-19, before Head Coach, Amanda Phelps called a timeout to reset her troops. Up 24-21, the Raiders stayed alive after a controversial call and got within one, 24-23. On the serve by OCC, Gabriela Hernandez made a perfect set to Emma Gray who slammed home the set winner.
Set two was the type of play you would expect to see at Nationals. Both teams trying to throw the hardest punch, going back and forth throughout the set. Up 13-7, the Lakehawks could not get away from the Raiders who proceeded to go on a 5-1 run, bringing the score to 14-12. The score would remain close all the way through the end. Tayln Allard took over in the final moments notching two kills in the final four points for the 25-19 victory.
Jumping out to an early 6-1 lead, LSSC looked poised to end the match in three sets. Oakland CC was able to tie up the set twice at 16-16 and then again at 24-24, but would never take the lead at any time. With Lake-Sumter holding onto the slimmest of leads, 25-24, the Raiders went up for the kill and a combination of Kameron Johnson and Allard sent the ball straight back down to the floor for the set clinching block.
Gray continues to show why she is one of the best players in the country with 14 kills, 12 digs and two assists. Allard totaled 16 points and 10 digs of her own while Amanda Berecz notched a match high 18 digs. Hernandez tossed up 38 of the team's 42 assists in the win.
The victory was the first win at Nationals for any Lake-Sumter athletic program. Next up will be a match at 4:30 pm today against the No. 10 seed Catawba Valley Community College out of North Carolina.
During the regular season, the Red Hawks boasted a 34-10 overall record with a 14-7 record at neutral sites. Catawba Valley opened the season ranked 13th in the nation in the NJCAA Division II poll. In the most recent poll released at the end of October, the Red Hawks fell to 15. LSSC has had success against nationally ranked opponents in 2018 with four victories over top 20 teams this season.
The winner of this contest will move on to what would be considered the championship match on the consolation side of the bracket. One more victory will guarantee the Lakehawks a top 10 finish at Nationals.
NJCAATV.com will be streaming the match. If you cannot view the game online, you can follow on twitter with @Lakehawksports who will be tweeting live throughout the contest.