The Lady Flames will long remember letting a pair of sets slip away in the 28-26, 25-17, 28-26, 25-21 loss to the Lady Pilots of Bethel.
In the opening set, Lee seemed to be well on its way to the win when Bethel took advantage of some key errors and salvaged the set. Lee regrouped quickly and was very much in command, winning the second set convincingly.
Much like the first set, the Lady Flames seemed primed to go up 2-1 in the match but once again mistakes and solid play by the Indiana club frustrated the team and the coaching staff.
The tough third set loss seemed to sap most of the energy from the Lady Flames and Bethel defeated Lee for the second time this year and put the pressure on coach Andrea Hudson's club heading into the final two pool matches on Friday.
In the earlier win over Roberts Wesleyan, the Lady Flames had a high attack percentage, but that was not true in Thursday evening's loss. Still, Paula Martins managed a double-double, 15 kills, 14 digs and three blocks. Freshman Erin Hill also had 15 kills and seven digs, while Latrice Johnson had a double-double with 12 kills and 12 digs. Lauren Williams followed with 10 kills and four blocks.
Camil Martinez joined the double-double club with 45 assists and 13 digs. She also went to the net for three blocks. Libby Peigen, playing on a bad knee, had 10 digs and Deborah Magalhaes also tallied 10.
Aided by 18 Lee service errors, Bethel countered with 14 kills and three blocks from Mallory Gilkey. Aubrey Husak totaled 13 kills and Hanna Stump had 11. Morgan Fox came up with a double-double, 40 assists and 18 digs for the Lady Pilots. Amanda Troyer had 14 digs and Alicia Carlton came up with 13.
The Lady Flames can still control their own destiny when they return to action on Friday at 10 a.m. They will face McMurry University (Texas). After a short break, Lee will return for its final pool match at 4 p.m. against Azusa Pacific. The top two teams out of the two pools will return for semifinal and championship action on Saturday.
LEE 3, ROBERTS WESLEYAN 0
With Martins leading the way, the Lee volleyball team passed the first test in pool play of the NCCAA Championship on Thursday at the Civic Center by defeating Roberts Wesleyan 3-0.
The Lady Flames coasted to easy victories in the first two sets (25-14, 25-11) but were extended in the final set before winning 28-26.
Martins finished the day with 14 kills and a remarkable .722 attack percentage. She also had four digs and a couple of blocks. Williams countered with eight kills and a .533 attack mark. Williams also tallied four aces.
Martinez dished off 29 assists, while Johnson had 11 digs. Sarah Davis also contributed 10 digs. Blaire Beamer was a key force in Lee's 21st win of the year. She came up with nine service aces including four when the Lady Flames rallied to win their final set. All totaled, Lee had 15 aces.
Judy Schultz was the Roberts Wesleyan leader with six kills and Maggie Concannon recorded 17 assists.