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Wolves carry 4-win sweep at Frances Marion Invitational

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FLORENCE — The Newberry Wolves wrapped up the Francis Marion Invitational with a perfect record following an emphatic sweep of Mount Olive on Saturday night.


Newberry will carry a 4-0 record into South Atlantic Conference play, traveling to nationally-ranked Wingate on Sept. 13, and Coker the following day.


Samantha Parrish led the Wolves with 13 kills. Elayni Stokes had a team-high 18 digs and Chelsea Mayor passed out 33 assists. Newberry benefited from dismal hitting on Mount Olive’s end, holding the Trojans to .086.


The first set was tightly played, but the Wolves never trailed at any point. Newberry could not extend its lead to any more than three points in the set, but Parrish had six kills in the set to help the scarlet and gray take the lead in the match.


In the second set, MOC hung around longer, but Parrish and Logan Hayward each had three kills in the set to put the Wolves in the driver’s seat. Newberry also had six blocks in the set.


The third set was a Newberry rout, with Parrish and Alexus Horton each posting four kills on the way to a 25-16 set win. Newberry hit .255 to MOC’s .100 in the set.


Saturday morning


The Newberry Wolves moved to 3-0 on the season Saturday morning from Friday’s double play with a 3-1 (25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 25-17) win over the homestanding Francis Marion Patriots in the morning session of the FMU Invitational.


Jessica King hit .368 with 11 kills and four blocks, Logan Hayward hit .345 with 12 kills and three blocks and Samantha Parrish hit .286 with 17 kills, 12 digs and four blocks. Setter Rachel Moran passed out 49 assists on Newberry’s 55 kills and libero Elayni Stokes earned 12 digs to tie Parrish for the team lead.


The Wolves were even stronger offensively in the second set with a .400 hitting percentage. After a 15-all tie, Newberry scored five consecutive points with four blocks to pull away and go up by two sets to none.


FMU rallied to win the third set, with the Wolves hitting a match low .175, but Newberry responded well to cruise to a fourth set win.


Friday night


On Friday night, the Newberry Wolves took an early lead and fought off a strong charge from the USC Aiken Pacers on the way to a 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 26-28, 25-22) victory in the Francis Marion Invitational.


Newberry (2-0) was led by a 19-kill, 11-dig double-double from Samantha Parrish (Angola, Ind.) and 17 kills from Logan Hayward. Setter Rachel Moran (Cypress, Texas) passed out 48 assists to go with seven digs and four kills. Elayni Stokes had 20 digs and a pair of service aces.


The third set win seemed to give USC Aiken momentum, as the Pacers would push out to an 18-12 lead in the fourth set. Newberry would respond well, cutting that deficit to 22-18. With USC Aiken still holding the edge, Newberry turned on the offensive heat, scoring the match’s final seven points to win the set 25-22. Jessica King was instrumental in the closeout, recording a block and kills on the final two points.


“When they came back on us in the third set, that was disappointing,” head coach Todd Hay said. “We had good leads late and it’s tough to lose a set like that. We were down by six with Aiken having a chance to force a fifth set and we got the points we needed. We’ve done a drill in practice that puts the pressure on the team receiving serve, and it paid off tonight. We made some minor adjustments in our timeouts and we stepped up the intensity on the defensive side, which flipped the match in our favor.


“The intensity was good tonight and it’s a good thing for us to be tested early. We talked before the match that this and the Francis Marion match are matches that will help determine the regional rankings later on and will follow you the rest of the season. It’s only match two of the season, but it’s a big win for this season already.”


Friday morning


The Newberry Wolves got their 2013 season off to a great start, cruising to a sweep of Lees-McRae in the morning session of the Francis Marion Invitational.


Newberry (1-0) won by set scores of 25-11, 25-12, 25-18. The Wolves hit .130 for the match with 29 kills, while limiting Lees-McRae to a minus-.069 percentage and only 16 kills, eight of which came in the third set.


Preseason all-SAC pick Samantha Parrish and freshman Logan Hayward were match leaders with seven kills apiece, while Jessica King had six kills and hit at a .385 clip with only one error in the match.


Parrish was also the team leader with 13 digs, while libero Elayni Stokes had 12 digs. The Wolves used two setters in the game, with Chelsea Mayor passing out 11 assists in the first two sets and Rachel Moran handing out 10 helpers in the third set.


The Wolves recorded seven blocks in the game, with Alexus Horton in on four of those.


“We had some really good moments from our newcomers and then we had some of those moments where I wondered what we were doing,” head coach Todd Hay said. “I think that’s pretty typical of a first match. It wasn’t really clean at times. We ran two setters, and when we switched setters it took a little time to adjust. Overall, I think we did good but not great and that’s encouraging as well because there’s a lot of room to improve.”

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