NEWBERRY — In a tightly played South Atlantic Conference match in Eleazer Arena, the Newberry Wolves were barely edged by the Mars Hill Lions in four sets, 21-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23.
Newberry falls to 9-3 overall and 4-3 in league play, while Mars Hill is now 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the league. The Wolves host Tusculum at 7 p.m. Friday and No. 25 Armstrong at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“I thought Mars Hill played a very strong defensive match and we got a little impatient at times with our offense when things weren’t falling our way,” Newberry head coach Todd Hay said. “We had more digs and blocks than them, but we didn’t stay patient in our offense. Our tempo in sets to the outside and back dropped and we got a little too one-dimensional and we’ve got to work on that. We’ve got two huge matches coming up this weekend, so we’ve got to right the ship a little bit.”
Samantha Parrish hit .216 and team highs with 16 kills and 25 digs. Amanda Soper had 12 kills, while Logan Hayward had a double-double with 12 kills and 19 digs. Jessica King had 10 kills and was in on five blocks.
Chelsea Mayor passed out 49 assists. Lisa Ross earned 20 digs, while Elayni Stokes had 14 digs.
In the opening set, Newberry outhit the Lions by a .171-.111 margin and put up four blocks to hold off a late charge. Soper led Newberry with four kills in the set, while Hayward and Parrish had three each.
In the second set, Newberry got out to a six-point edge at 12-6 before the Lions came back to tie it up at 17-all. Newberry led 20-19, then MHU score four straight points to swing the momentum and steal the set. The Wolves outhit the Lions .153-.140 with Soper nailing four kills and Hayward and Parrish earning three apiece.
Newberry had 35 digs in the set, with Hayward earning nine, Parrish making eight and Ross digging out seven.
The third set was also a close one, tied late at 17-all. The Wolves scored three straight to get to 20-17, but five straight Lion points swung the lead to 22-20 in the guests’ favor. That two-point advantage was enough as Mars Hill took the third. Hayward had five kills in the set, but Newberry made 10 hitting errors in the set.
Newberry jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead in the fourth set, but Mars Hill responded well out of a timeout and worked its way to a 10-9 lead. Later on, Mars Hill led 19-15 before four straight points from Newberry tied the set up. Tied at 20-all, the Lions scored four straight points to get to match point.
Newberry battled back to 24-23, but a Toni Cole kill gave the visitors the match. Parrish had six kills in the set, but the Wolves were limited to a .067 hitting percentage in the set.