MORRISTOWN, Tenn.— Fifth-ranked Catawba Valley rolled to a 3-0 victory over Walters State Tuesday night at 'Z' Buda Gymnasium in the regular season finale for the Lady Senators.
The Red Hawks took the opening set by 25-22, claimed the second 25-18 and closed out the match with a 25-14 triumph in the third.
Catawba Valley upped its record to 29-4 with the victory in dealing the Lady Senators their first home loss of the season.
Walters State fell to 20-8 overall with three of the losses coming at the hands of the Red Hawks. The same two teams will likely square off in the NJCAA Southeast District Tournament scheduled for Nov. 9.
The Lady Senators have already captured a berth in the district by claiming the Region VII championship last weekend while Catawba Valley plays its region on Friday and Saturday. The Red Hawks winning that tournament is pretty much a formality as they have won over 135 straight matches against region foes.
Walters State led only one time in the entire match and that came at 2-1 in the first set but Emma Clark knocked down three kills and Lilly Weaver served an ace as the visitors ran off five straight points and never trailed again.
Clark, who made first team All-American last season, led Catawba Valley with 14 kills and four blocked shots. Sage Harrington added eight kills and Aasia McNeil six for the Red Hawks.
Walters State coach Megan Blaylock said, "It wasn't the way we wanted the match to go, but I think it's a good foundation for next weekend. I think that's who we'll be playing.
"I think it's a good starting point for us to get ready for the district," she continued. "We can study this match and work on what we see in practice for the next week and a half."
The coach went on to say, "They're ranked No. 5 for a reason. They're a very good volleyball team.
"It's hard to get into a rhythm when you're going up against a team that blocks as well as they do," Blaylock remarked. "We're a very undersized team when you compare us to them."
In the match, the Lady Senators played very well at times but each time they seemed to have something going, Catawba Valley would come up with a two or three point string to take control again.
McNeil served four aces for the Red Hawks while Weaver had two. Singleton, Dotson and Olivia Oxendine had one ace each for Walters State.
After the five-point run early in the first set, the Red Hawks stretched their lead as big as nine at 20-11 before the home team started to rally. McGhee had two kills and Singleton added another in a four-point run and the Lady Senators used a 5-1 run sparked by a couple of kills by Tigue to pull within two at 23-21.
A double hit gave the winners another point but Tigue had another kill to make it 24-22 before Clark put down another kill to end it.
The Red Hawks scored the first four points in set two and grabbed a quick 6-1 margin. Walters State fought back within two at 12-10 on Singleton's ace.
Each team had a three-point spurt before a 7-2 run put Catawba Valley up by 22-15. The home team got it down to 23-18 but Clark did it again as she scored on a kill and then blocked a shot for the final points of the set.
In the final set, the winners broke out of a 3-3 tie with a five-point run and led by 4, 5 or 6 the rest of the way. Catawba Valley closed out the match by scoring the final five points.