HARROGATE, Tenn. — The Lady Railsplitters doubled Mars Hill’s kill total, extended their winning streak to eight and remained unbeaten in South Atlantic Conference play with a four-set win (25-13, 25-10, 25-27, 25-12) over the Lions on Tuesday night at Mary Mars Gymnasium.
Four players tallied at least nine kills in the match for Lincoln Memorial (8-1, 5-0 SAC) and, aside from a third-set letdown, the Lady Railsplitters steamrolled through the Lions (1-7, 0-5 SAC) to push out to 5-0 in SAC play, which is the program’s best start to conference play since 2009. LMU also defeated Mars Hill for the fifth straight time and improved to 23-8 in the all-time series.
Fresh off the first triple-double by a Lady Railsplitter since 2012, Samantha Cash recorded a match-high 16 kills on a .394 attack percentage to go along with nine assists and six digs. Liz Brock notched a season-high 15 kills with 21 digs, while Kiera Holland had 10 kills and 14 scoops.
Jamie Jehne converted nine of her 16 attack attempts for a .438 clip and chipped in a pair of block assists. Abby Cash had 30 more assists than any other player in the contest, producing 46 to go with 19 digs and four kills. Bristol Snider collected 20 digs and three service aces.
As a unit, Lincoln Memorial amassed 64 kills and hit .284, which is the second-highest mark of the season. That was compared to just 32 kills and a .046 attack percentage for the Lions. Mars Hill had 13 kills in the third set and just 19 in the other three sets combined, never hitting above .032 in any of those frames.
The Lady Railsplitters scored the first four points on the first set and never looked back, eventually establishing a 12-4 lead on a kill from Brock. A service error followed by a Mary Kate Griffin kill pulled the Lions within six, but the Lady Railsplitters answered with a 6-1 run to take an 18-7 lead on kills from Sam Cash and Brock.
Mars Hill won five of the next six rallies to trim some off the final deficit, but LMU ended the set with a 4-0 flurry to conclude the 25-13 triumph.
The second set was even more lopsided than the first, as the Lady Railsplitters rocked and rolled out to a 13-3 lead. Jehne, Holland (2) and Sam Cash capped that spurt with four consecutive kills. Holding a 13-5 advantage, the Lady Railsplitters rallied off a 7-1 run and grabbed a 20-6 lead on back-to-back Mars Hill attack errors. Brooke Fleeman later clinched the 25-10 win with a kill.
Using two straight kills by Holland, Lincoln Memorial opened up a 7-3 lead early in the third set, but Mars Hill steadily worked its way back into it, tying the frame at 11-11 on kills from Brooks Green and Rebecca Butler. After a back-and-forth passage, the Lady Railsplitters used kills from Snider and Jehne to establish a 17-14 edge, but the Lions fought back with a 4-1 run, taking just their second lead of the match at 19-18.
The Lady Railsplitters wouldn’t let it get away, though, taking a 24-22 lead on a kill from Holland. However, the Lions fought off two match points with a kill from Elizabeth Kaeser followed by a setting miscue. Sam Cash forced match point again with a kill in the ensuing rally, but Mars Hill ended the set on a 3-0 run to extend the match.
The Lady Railsplitters led wire-to-wire again in the fourth frame, jumping out to a 9-4 lead on two kills from Brock and another from Jehne. The Lions closed the gap to 9-7, but LMU essentially sealed the match with a 6-2 run that was capped by a Mars Hill miscue. Holding a narrow 15-11 lead, the Lady Railsplitters ripped off eight unanswered points on the serve of Snider, eventually clinching the four-set win on a kill by Lindsey Nartker.
No Mars Hill player produced more than five kills in the match, as Green, Butler, Kaeser and Lauren Hochstetler paced the Lions with five kills apiece. Sara Fahrenbrook led the Lions with 16 assists, while Hochstetler accounted for a team-leading 17 digs.
The Lady Railsplitters now turn their attention to the 10-time defending SAC regular-season champion Wingate Bulldogs, who are also unbeaten in SAC play and have won 12 straight matches to start the 2016 campaign.
Lincoln Memorial and Wingate will get underway at 7 p.m. on Friday night inside of Cuddy Arena in Wingate, North Carolina.