NEWBERRY — The Newberry Wolves clinched a school record for the most South Atlantic Conference wins in a season with a 25-17, 28-26, 25-20 sweep of the Mars Hill Lions in Eleazer Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Newberry moves to 15-11 overall and 9-6 in SAC play with the win. With the nine conference wins, the Wolves bests the 2008 squad, which had eight wins and finished .500 in the league. With one win in the final three conference matches, the 2012 Wolves would become the first Newberry volleyball team to finish over .500 in the league. Mars Hill falls to 13-11 overall and 6-8 in the league.
Lauren Prachar (Fort Wayne, Ind.) led the Wolves with 12 kills, while Samantha Parrish (Angola, Ind.) had another double-double with 11 kills and 17 digs. Blair Browning (New Lexington, Ohio) had a 40-assist, 12-dig double-double in her final match in Eleazer Arena and Elayni Stokes (Houston, Texas) had a team-high 18 digs.
Mars Hill scored the first three points of the opening set, but Newberry quickly tied the set and switched the momentum into a 9-5 lead. The Wolves contiually pulled away to cruise to the 25-17 set win. Newberry hit .231 in the set to MHC’s .048, with Jessica King (Los Angeles, Calif.), Prachar, Madison Schultz (Decatur, Ind.) and Amanda Soper (Simi Valley, Calif.) each notching three kills.
Newberry fell behind in the second set, but a fantastic battling effort put the Wolves up two sets to none. Mars Hill led 20-9, but Newberry scored 11 of the next 13 points to cut the lead to 22-20. A Newberry attack error and a Mars Hill kill gave the Lions set point at 24-20, but a Parrish kill, a pair of blocks and an MHC error tied the set at 24-all. At 26-all, Parrish put away a kill and Soper and Alexus Horton (Austin, Texas) combined on a block to cap the fantastic comeback. Parrish had five kills and two blocks in the set with only one error, while King and Prachar each had three kills. Newberry hit .178 to MHC’s .093.
With the sweep in sight, Newberry took full advantage, clinching the victory with a .302 hitting percentage and only one error in the set. After some back and forth early, the Wolves pushed out to a 10-5 lead, and Mars Hill would get no closer than four points after that. Prachar had six kills without an error, while Parrish had five errorless kills.
The Newberry Wolves celebrated the contributions of this year’s four seniors prior to the match, but were not able to celebrate a win, falling to the Tusculum Pioneers 3-1 (25-17, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23) in Eleazer Arena on Friday night.
The Wolves recognized Caitlin Chastain (Ninety Six), Alex Marshall (Ware Shoals), Dixie Timms (Ninety Six) and Browning prior to the match. Browning had a double-double with 46 assists and 13 digs in the match.
Parrish had 16 kills and 22 digs, but hit only .031. Prachar had 12 kills and 15 digs, Stokes tied with Parrish for the team lead with 22 digs.
King hit .318 with nine kills and Schultz hit .316 with eight kills.
The Pioneers got off to a hot start in the first set, recording the first five points and never looking back. Newberry was able to narrow the deficit to as few as three points at 14-11, but another 5-0 Tusculum run put the set out of reach. TC hit .233 in the set on the way to a 25-17 set win, while Newberry was limited to .047 with Parrish earning three kills.
Newberry responded in the second set, using a 7-2 run to jump out to a 13-7 lead. The Pioneers got back to within three points at 16-13, but the Wolves scored the next three points to get the lead back out to six. Newberry had set point at 24-20, but TC forced a timeout but taking the next two points. The Wolves tied the match at a set apiece when Schultz’ kill gave Newberry the 25-22 set win. Parrish had five kills in the set, while Schultz and Soper each had three kills without an error.
In the third set, Newberry was the early leader, with a pair of Parrish aces helping the scarlet and gray take the first four points. Newberry led 10-4 before Tusculum went on a huge run, scoring 11 of the next 13 points including seven consecutive points to take a 15-12 lead. Newberry fought back to tie the set at 17-all, but a 5-0 TC run would provide the difference as the Pioneers went up 2-1 with the 25-20 set win. Tusculum had only one hitting error on the way to a .381 percentage, while Newberry hit .220 behind six kills from Parrish and four from Prachar.
The fourth set was the tightest of the night, with 12 ties and five lead changes. Newberry took a 10-7 lead thanks to a three-point run capped by a King ace, but the Pioneers had tied the set back up by 13-all. The next lead of more than one point wouldn’t come until Newberry’s 18-16 lead. Newberry had as much as a three point lead, but another Tusculum run swung the momentum late. Newberry had a 21-19 lead and TC scored five straight to get to match point at 24-21. Newberry battled back with two kills to force a TC timeout, but Alyssa Raterman put away match point to give the Pioneers the win. Prachar had four kills in the set to lead the Wolves, who out-hit TC .133 to .111, but Newberry had two ball handling errors late.