MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - The Flagler College volleyball squad defeated Armstrong State University, 3-2, in the 2016 Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship match on Sunday afternoon at the Centennial Center in Milledgeville, Ga. Set scores were: 17-25, 25-19, 13-25, 26-24, 15-13.
The Saints (23-6) successfully defended its PBC Touranment title while Armstrong State fell to Flagler in the tournament title match for the first time since 2011. The Pirates (25-7) will now await word of an expected NCAA Championship bid, to be announced on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. on a live NCAA.com webstream.
The Pirates used five service aces and five team blocks in taking the first set win, but Armstrong State hit -.022 as Flagler took the second set and evened the set up at one set apiece. The Saints looked to have taken control of the match, winning the third set easily and taking a 24-22 lead in the fourth set, but the Pirates fought off two match points and scored four straight - getting a block from senior Rachel Thompson and sophomore Carley Eiken on set point to send the match to the fifth set.
The fifth set saw the score tied at 8-all when an illegal lift was called on Flagler's Ashley Cheewah, and head coach Matt Affolder was issued a red card for dissent and the Pirates awarded a point to make the score 10-8.
Flagler quickly responded with a kill from Megan Hooks and a Pirate attack error to tie the set back up at 10-all. After a kill from the Pirates' Kim Brody, Flagler scored three straight points to take a 13-11 lead. A kill from sophomore Raegan Grooms and an attack error by the Saints' Sara Davis tied the match up again at 13-all. Flagler called a time out, then got back-to-back kills from Taja Valmyr and PBC Tournament MVP Sara Davis to close out the match - the first PBC Tournament match that has gone to 15-13 in the fifth set since 1998.
The Pirates were led offensively on the day by All-Tournament honoree Raegan Grooms' 13 kills, while Brody added 11 kills and freshman Autumn Mayo had 10. All-Tournament honoree Carley Eiken had 13 assists, 15 digs and five blocks, while junior Iva Scapenovic collected 26 blocks and sophomore Raquel Kulak and Thompson had six kills apiece.
Flagler was led by Davis' 29 kills, Savisky's 60 assists and Kayla Norelli's PBC Tournament-record 45 digs.