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Alyson Ray & Rhayne Smitherman go up for the block in FridayAlyson Ray & Rhayne Smitherman go up for the block in Friday's win over King (photo by Nathan Carver)

Smitherman, Pioneers down King 3-1 for ninth straight win

Tusculum closes out perfect home-stand to improve to 16-3 on the year

Box Score

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Rhayne Smitherman recorded 18 kills and a .484 hitting percentage to lead the Tusculum College volleyball team to a 3-1 non-conference win over visiting King College Friday night at Pioneer Arena.
 
The Pioneers (16-3) posted its ninth consecutive victory, which began last month with a five-set win over the Tornado (18-4).  Tusculum won the match by scores of 25-16, 22-25, 25-15, 25-21.

TC hit .306 as a team on the night, including a sizzling .526 in the third set alone.  Allyson Ray tallied 10 kills and three blocks, while hitting .400 (10-2-20), Alyssa Raterman finished the match with eight kills and a .636 attack percentage, while rookie setter Ashley Sarmiento dished out a match-high 45 assists to go along with her seven digs.

Caitlyn Dean led Tusculum’s defensive efforts with 20 digs, while Underwood and Bailee Price posted 12 and 10 digs, respectively in the victory.

King was led by Morgan Machen’s 19 kills and five digs, while setter Shannon Earwood accounted for 41 assists, seven digs and two blocks as the Tornado had their three-match winning streak halted.

Rachel Harding recorded 18 digs, while for the visitors, while Amber Jones added 13 in the loss.

Tusculum jumped out of the gate in the opening set, hitting .324 en route to the 25-16 win.  In the frame, Ray recorded four of her 10 kills of the match, while Raterman hit .600 (4-1-5) in the set.

King captured the momentum in the second set as the Tornado hit .325, led by Machen’s eight kills and her .667 attack percentage (8-0-12) as KC won 25-22.

But the Pioneers responded in the third, hitting .526 and took advantage of seven KC service errors to win 25-15.

In the fourth, King led 11-4, but the Pioneers rallied with an 8-1 spurt to tie the score at 12-12 and would parlay that run into a 25-22 win to close out the match.

Tusculum closes out an undefeated home-stand going 5-0 to improve to 8-1 at Pioneer Arena.  TC is back on the road on Saturday for a pair of Southeast Region matches in Banner Elk, N.C.  Tusculum will face Erskine at 1 p.m., followed by a 3 p.m. contest against host and Conference Carolinas front-runner Lees-McRae.

- TC -

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