Barton completes sweep of Conference Carolinas honors

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BRISTOL, Tenn. — The rampaging Barton College women’s volleyball team completed its sweep of NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas honors with victories against conference foes King (Tennessee) University and Lees-McRae College over the weekend.

With Saturday’s 25-18, 25-18, 25-23 triumph against King, the Lady Bulldogs of head coach Jeff Lennox clinched the league’s overall regular-season championship and their .929 winning percentage is Barton’s best in its Division II history. Earlier, Barton locked up the North Division title and the No. 1 seed in this week’s conference tournament.

The stage was set with a 25-21, 25-23, 25-22 triumph at Lees-McRae on Friday.

In winning 17 of their last 18 matches, the Lady Bulldogs compiled a 20-7 overall record and lost just once in 14 conference tests.

King wound up 6-8 in the league and 11-14 against all foes. Lees-McRae emerged 3-10 and 6-18, respectively.

Barton welcomes Erskine (South Carolina) College (1-13, 2-21) in the tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. If victorious, the Lady Bulldogs will host the remainder of the tourney in Wilson Gymnasium next weekend, starting with a semifinals test against the winner of the first-round King-Southern Wesleyan match.

Against King, freshman Kaytlin Elkins paced Barton with 16 kills and 13 digs. Senior Miranda Miller added nine kills and 10 digs. Riley Bane, a junior from Fike High, contributed 11 digs and three service aces. Junior setter Angelica Acevedo posted her 19th 2017 double-double of 32 assists and 14 digs.

Barton never trailed in the opening set and was behind just once in the second set. The Lady Bulldogs shrugged off a 3-0 deficit in the final set. Seven ties and five lead changes ensued. With the score knotted 23-23, Barton prevailed on Acevedo’s kill and a Tornado error.

Against Lees-McRae, Elkins pounded 21 kills, the most for a Lady Bulldog this season in three sets. Elkins, who leads the conference with 4.2 kills per set, unleashed nine in the final set.

Miller added 13 kills, while Acevedo’s 18th double-double consisted of 41 assists and 11 digs. Senior Courtney Wiseman notched nine kills and freshman Ashley Owen responded with a match-high 15 digs.

The Lady Bulldogs fell behind 12-6 in the opening set, but surged with a 10-2 spree fueled by consecutive kills from Miller. Barton never trailed in the second set, but the Lady Bobcats axed a 17-10 margin to 20-18 before Miller stepped up with back-to-back kills. The final set produced four lead changes and 13 ties. Lees-McRae spurted from a 21-17 deficit to a 21-21 standoff. However, Barton responded with a 4-1 run that included two kills from Elkins.