Bearcats sweep UNC Pembroke in PBC opener behind record crowd


GREENWOOD – In its first home match of the season, the Lander volleyball team put on a dominating display, sweeping UNC Pembroke for a 25-14, 25-13, 25-7 win on Friday night in front of a record crowd of 496 fans in Horne Arena.

Lander (8-1, 1-0 PBC), which improved to 11-0 in its last 11 matches against UNCP (2-7, 0-1 PBC), owned the night from start to finish. The Bearcats hit .379 in the final set and held the Braves to just seven points.

“They were persistent,” said head coach Ashley White of her players, “which was what we’ve been preaching all year. We were looking for the type of energy they brought and I think they showed us what they’re here to do this year.

Hannah Hritz led the team with 12 kills on .393 hitting and five digs, while Imari Ashley added a career-high eight kills. Sophia Perkins tallied a team-high 20 assists and five service aces.

Perkins opened the night with three aces in the first four points as Lander stormed out to a 6-0 lead. UNCP clawed back to within four points, but three kills from Hritz highlighted a 6-0 run to push the Bearcat lead to 20-10. A kill from Dale Rogers gave the Bearcats a 25-14 win in the first set.

Leading 6-4 in the second set, Jessica Johnson tallied a pair of kills as the Bearcats embarked on another 6-0 run to make the score 12-4. Lander kept UNCP at bay the rest of the set, as the Braves never pulled closer than five points and a Hritz block ended the set as Lander earned a 25-13 win.

The Bearcats saved their biggest run of the night for the third set, rattling off the final 11 points of the night, capped by two consecutive aces from Perkins to seal the victory for Lander.

Lander has a quick turnaround, playing in-state foe Francis Marion on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. in Horne Arena.

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