AIKEN, SC – In one of the most contested PBC volleyball tournament games in history, the fourth-seeded Lander Bearcats edged fifth-seeded Francis Marion 3-2 in the quarterfinals on Friday night at the USCA Convocation Center in Aiken, S.C. With the win, the Bearcats (20-9) advance to meet top-seeded Flagler on Saturday at 4:30 pm. Francis Marion sees their season come to a close with an 18-14 record. Set scores were 31-29, 26-28, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11.
Lander's Kyra Ross had 25 kills and matched a season high with 20 digs. Lander as a team hit .250 in the match as Hannah Hritz added 17 kills and Reilly Kuenstler had 14 and Maya Walker 11.
Francis Marion was led by Kayla Arthur's 22 kills while Iyanla Thigpen added 20 and Alyssa Hansen 19. The Patriots hit .254 as a team.
The fifth set was tied 11-11 before Lander ran off the final four points to capture the match. Maddie Reed started the run with a kill, followed by another from Ross along with a FMU attack error. Courtney Abdur-Rahim won the match with a service ace.
PBC Setter of the Year Madilyn Reed had 60 assists for Lander along with 16 kills. Hannah McManus led the Bearcat with 29 digs.
Francis Marion's Finn Millian had 71 assists in the loss, the most in a single match in the PBC this season. Natalie Vaughn led the Patriots with 35 digs.