ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -- The 2013 version of the Piedmont College volleyball team assured its place in the program's history earlier today winning a pair of USA South matches in straight set fashion to set a new record for wins in a season during Piedmont's NCAA era which began with the 2003 season.
Knocking off both North Carolina Wesleyan College and William Peace University, PC picked up wins Nos. 26 and 27 of the 2013 season to tie and break the NCAA era record of 26 wins in a season set by the 2003 squad ten seasons ago.
In today's opener of the USA South tri-match hosted by NC Wesleyan, Piedmont took on the Battling Bishops in their home gym sweeping a 3-0 decision in decisive fashion 25-15, 25-12, and 25-11. The Lady Lions tallied an astounding 17 kills as a team in a resounding 25-12 winner in the second set of the 3-0 victory over the tri-match hosts earning their 26th win of 2013.
Offensive leaders in the win over NC Wesleyan included Jackie Campbell who collected 11 kills in 22 attempts to hit .409 with just a pair of errors at the net. Campbell was the only Lady Lion in double figures in the kill column though followed closely behind by the team's most efficient hitter in junior Jennifer Opper who hit .529 producing nine kills in 17 attempts with no errors in the win.
Defensively, the team was led by sophomore Katie Faith's 20 digs marking the 13th time that the Piedmont libero has collected at least 20 digs in a match during this 2013 campaign. No other Lady Lion was in double-digits in the dig column in the victory as the next closest in the box score column was Kaitlin Norman who dug up eight while also adding five kills on 13 attempts to hit a respectable .308 at the net.
In the assists market, Piedmont was led by its usual pair of suspects in Katheryn Knarr and Xandy Green as the senior-sophomore combo continues to set the pace at the setting position. Green had ten helpers in the contest while Knarr was the leader with her 19 against NC Wesleyan.
The win was the team's 26th of the season tying the NCAA era record set by the 2003 squad in Piedmont's debut as a full-fledged Division III member. The all-time record coming into today was 27 wins by the 2001 squad with both those teams having been coached by Piedmont Hall of Famer Katie O'Brien.
Again leading the Lady Lions offensively in their second match of the day, a 3-0 straight sets win over William Peace University, was the newcomer Campbell who had 13 kills on 21 attempts to hit .524 against the Pacers. Piedmont defeated WPU 25-14 in the first two sets before winning the third and final set 25-18 to wrap up the regular season portion of 2013 in style.
The second win of the day now puts Piedmont's 2013 team tied with the 2001 version for the most wins in a season all-time throughout the program's 17 year history. The 27 victories is the most in the Sid Feldman era at Piedmont and 7th most wins in a season for the former UGA coaching legend as Feldman saw his highest win total in a season come with 46 by the Bulldogs in the 1981 season.
Piedmont won the final five points of the third set against William Peace, a stretch that included a pair of kills by Jackie Campbell and was capped off with a Xandy Green service ace, a fitting end to what has been an ace of a season for the 2013 Lady Lions who earned a berth in the USA South Conference Championship tournament finishing 2nd in the South Division of the league. The five point streak that finished off WPU started after a well-placed Piedmont timeout by Feldman that stopped the Pacers' own five point run in the set.
Assist leaders in the WPU win were Knarr and Green once more who almost perfectly split the work down the middle with Knarr tabbing 16 and Green just one less. Two Lady Lions were in double-digit dig territory with Faith doing so for the second time on the day with her dozen and was joined by teammate Jessica Hollis who had 11 in the match.
The wins move Piedmont to an astounding 27-8 overall and finish up the Lady Lions' conference record at 12-4 to finish the squad as the #2 seed in the South Division. As a result, the Lady Lions, who secured their spot in the conference tournament long before today, will now get set for an interesting first-round match up at the USA South Confernece Championships - a rematch with their regular season finale opponent in the Pacers of William Peace University who finished as the #3 seed in the North Division.
Piedmont's USA South tourney opener with the Pacers of William Peace is set for Friday, November 8th with the first serve set for a 7 p.m. start. All matches of the 2013 USA South Athletic Conference Volleyball Championship Tournament will take place at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia.