The Belmont Abbey women's volleyball team extended their winning streak to 21 and broke the school record with its 27th win as the Crusaders swept Erskine, 3-0 this evening in the Conference Carolinas Tournament Semifinal. Set scores were 25-16, 25-22 and 25-23. Belmont Abbey advances to Saturday's championship match-which it will host against King at 2:00 p.m.-with a record of 27-3, while Erskine, the fifth seed, ends its season with a mark of 12-15.
Belmont Abbey had no trouble in the first set, scoring the first seven points of the set as it cruised to a 25-16 win.
The second set was evenly played, as neither team had a lead greater than three. Trailing 22-21, Belmont the Crusaders claimed the final four points of the set on two Erskine attack errors, a Claire Lang kill and service ace from Ana Maria Pagan.
The third set mirrored the second, with the two teams locked in a close battle throughout, but once again, the Crusaders used a late rally to end the match.
Belmont Abbey trailed 23-21 on a Caitlin Bullock kill, the last of her eight of the evening, but that would be Erskine's last point of the 2013 season. Just like the second set, Belmont Abbey closed the match by winning the final four points, again with Pagan on serve.
Hankins pulled the Abbey to within one at 23-22. An Erskine attack error sent the set to a 23-23 stalemate, but Dani Fortunato gave the Crusaders the lead for good when an Erskine pass sailed over the net, where Fortunato easily tapped down the winner for a 24-23 lead. After an Erskine timeout, Lang smacked down her seventh and final kill of the night, which sent the Crusaders into the championship match for the second-straight season.
Belmont Abbey hit .216 for the match as Hannah Schellenberg led all players with 15 kills. Hankins added 11 as she hit .429 for the match. Gabby Martinez handed out 25 assists and Abby Stine totaled 12.
Defensively, Pagan's 20 digs led all players, while Hannah Schellenberg finished with ten. Martinez chipped in with nine.
At the net, Lang and Fortunato both had two block assists, while Tori Jensen and Hankins each had one.