At the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) 2011 Divisional Crossover Tournament, the Spring Hill College volleyball team upset the 2nd ranked Lee University Flames by a score of 3-2 (23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 20-25, 15-11) and then followed that win with a hard-fought 3-1 victory (25-21, 25-20, 25-27, 25-20) over the Shorter University Hawks at the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center on Saturday to remain undefeated on the year.
In the first match, Lee (7-2, 2-1 SSAC) won the opening set 25-23 and led the second set 6-0 before the Badgers rallied to win their first set over the Flames since joining the SSAC in 2010 by a score of 25-19.
The third set saw the Badgers build on their success and grow in confidence with each serve. SHC took a convincing 25-16 victory in Set 3 to build a 2-1 advantage, but Lee showed why they are a top ranked team by answering in the fourth set by storming back to knot the match at 2-2 with a 25-20 win.
In the decisive fifth set, the Badgers bolted out to a 4-0 lead and held an 8-2 advantage as the teams switched sides for the final sprint to 15 points. Lee quickly whittled their deficit down to 9-8 before SHC closed out the match with a 6-3 run.
Senior right side hitter Yiting Cao of Shanghai, China, collected a season-high 34 kills to go along with two aces, 18 digs, a solo block, 26 receptions and 36.5 points scored.
Senior Cassandra Marchand-Stewart of Grand Bay, Ala., recorded nine kills and three aces, senior Abbey Roam of Lebanon, Mo., pounded out 11 kills and sophomore setter Taryn Nash from Independence, Mo., distributed a staggering 54 assists in the match. Sophomore libero Meredith Donald from Mobile's McGill-Toolen Catholic High School pulled in 20 digs and 25 receptions on defense.
Lee was paced by Arlene Ferreira with 13 kills, 22 digs and 20 receptions along with Courtney Wilson's 24 assists.
In the nightcap, the Badgers swept the first two sets and were one point away from closing out the match before Shorter scored three consecutive points for a 27-25 victory that forced a fourth set. Spring Hill rallied once more and closed out an exhausting 25-20 decision to take the match 3-1.
Cao totaled another 20 kills and 18 digs versus SU while Nash handed out 42 more assists. Donald scooped up 19 more digs and 36 receptions.
The Hawks' (11-3, 2-1) Tori Bradley had 15 kills while Jordan Kirk passed out 47 assists.
The Badgers (15-0, 3-0) will host the rival Loyola University (La.) Wolfpack (4-4, 1-2) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for a conference tilt in the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center.