GREENSBORO, N.C. – Led by the duo of Cameron Blankenship and Khaira Bolden, who combined for 23 kills, 19 digs and an assisted block, the Guilford volleyball team picked up its first win of the 2021 season over Ferrum by scores of 25-11, 25-14, 24-26, 25-16 at Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse on Thursday, March 25th.
Blankenship drove home a match-high 12 kills and Bolden tallied 11, leading the way for a Quaker (1-2, 1-2 ODAC) unit that tallied 61 total. The defensive attack was highlighted Bryce Smith (17 digs), Avery Lemons (15), Hannah Stout (11) and Blankenship (11). Guilford also had four assisted blocks, which came from Bolden, Amanda Rabey, Paige McDonald and Vanessa Johnson.
With the opening set tied at five-all, Blankenship took over in serve and forced a series of attack errors that allowed Guilford to assume the 11-5 advantage. Bolden slammed three kills past the Panthers’ (0-4, 0-4 ODAC) defense that extended the Guilford lead to 16-10, forcing a timeout. The offensive onslaught continued with a kill by Cassidy Burke along with back-to-back slams from Blankenship which allowed the Quakers to outscore Ferrum 9-1 down the stretch and claim the 14-point victory.
The Guilford offense continued to click on all cylinders in the opening stages of the second set, resulting in an 11-2 lead due to three service aces, two by Stout, and four kills from various sources. Trailing 17-7, Ferrum called a timeout, but the Quaker offense wasn’t to be derailed as Stout drove home two kills and Blankenship added one of her own to make for a 22-12 advantage. Guilford added slams from McDonald and Kaitlyn Kelly in the final three points to earn the second set win.
Ferrum found its offensive niche in the third frame, putting together a 6-3 run after the two teams reached a six-all deadlock. Guilford pulled to within one, 12-11, but the Panthers rattled off six of the next seven points to forge ahead 18-12. The Quakers fought back into the match and behind a 12-6 run, highlighted by solid defense, and pulled even at 24. The Panthers took advantage of two miscues down the stretch to complete the win.
Looking to close out their first win of the season the Quakers streaked out to a 10-4 lead in third set, but Ferrum retaliated with eight unanswered points to pull even at 12. Carson Evans stepped into serve with a 16-14 lead for Guilford and after two attack errors and a Rabey kill moved the lead to 19-14. Rabey added two kills down the stretch while Kaitlyn Kelly and Bolden contributed one each to secure the 25-16 victory.
The Quakers return to the road on Saturday, March 27th, when they head to Emory & Henry for a series of matches with Eastern Mennonite and the host Wasps. The first match against Eastern Mennonite takes place at 4 p.m. and the second match versus Emory & Henry will begin at approximately 6 p.m. For more information on Guilford volleyball check out www.guilfordquakers.com.