University of Mount Olive won the first two sets, but Emmanuel College stormed back to defeat the Trojans 23-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-16, 15-10 in Conference Carolinas women's volleyball Saturday at Kornegay Arena. Trojan freshman Britni Johnson led all players with a career-high 20 kills.
Mount Olive (2-9 overall, 0-2 Conference Carolinas) rallied from an early four-point deficit and the Trojans went on to build a 21-17 lead after kills on consecutive points by Sarah Watkins, Sarah Robertson and Alysha Burnett. Emmanuel closed to within a point before Dezirae Mackey's emphatic kill in the middle gave Mount Olive a 24-21 lead.
Emmanuel saved two set points, but Montgomery Register's kill gave Mount Olive the opening set.
The Trojans had to play from behind again early in the second set after Emmanuel's Becca Graham served an ace during a three-point run to give the Lions an 8-5 lead. A block by Mackey and Johnson broke an 11-11 tie and put the Trojans ahead to stay. Burnett served an ace on set point to give Mount Olive a two-set lead.
Mackey finished with a career-high eight blocks and the Trojans recorded 14 blocks as a team, second highest of the season.
Mount Olive appeared to be on its way to a three set win as a pair of blocks by Watkins and an ace by Register contributed to a 6-0 run to give the Trojans an 18-14 lead. But a block by Mercedes Pressley and Elissa Waldrop sparked Emmanuel and the Lions capitalized on Trojan errors down the stretch to build a 24-22 lead. Mount Olive fought off one set point, but Cali Jones' kill gave Emmanuel the third set and kept the Lions in the match.
Emmanuel (5-5, 1-1) jumped out early in the fourth set as the Lions used aces by Libby Bradford and Rachel Tolleson to build a 13-7 lead. The margin never fell below four points and ballooned to double digits as Emmanuel went on to force a fifth set.
A pair of blocks by Mackey helped give Mount Olive a 4-3 lead, but Emmanuel ran off six unanswered points and led the rest of the way. The Trojans never drew closer than four points the remainder of the set.
Mackey finished with nine kills and Burnett added eight kills. Register tallied 23 assists and three aces, while Sam Winfield finished with 17 assists. Watkins matched a career high with seven blocks and Robertson had six blocks. Johnson notched a team-high 15 digs.
Rachel Tolleson led Emmanuel off the bench with 13 kills and 11 digs, while Sophie Windover led all players in the back row with 20 digs. Danielle Sweet shared match-high honors with eight blocks.
Mount Olive travels to Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday to take on Saint Augustine's in non-conference action as the Trojans play the first of six consecutive away contests. Match time is 7 p.m.