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FLORENCE, S.C. — The Francis Marion University volleyball squad will close out its regular season at home Friday as the Patriots host Flagler College at 7 p.m. in the Smith University Center.

The Patriots enter the match after winning all three of their matches this past week — 3-1 over UNC Pembroke, 3-2 against Augusta University, and 3-1 against Georgia College — to improve their overall record to 18-12 and are now 5-6 in the Peach Belt Conference.

Following Friday’s match, FMU will play in the PBC Tournament on Nov. 22-24 in Aiken as either the fourth or the fifth seed.

FMU is led by sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Hansen who is averaging 3.1 kills per set. Junior outside hitter Kayla Arthur and sophomore middle blocker Iyanla Thigpen follow behind with 2.48 and 2.22 kills per set respectably. Thigpen also leads the Patriots with 98 blocks followed by sophomore Lily Walton who has 89.

Sophomore setter Finn Millians has dished out 1083 assists for the Patriots, the most by an FMU player since 2006. Junior Courtney Abdur-Rahim leads with 50 service aces and is averaging 3.06 digs per set, while senior libero Natalie Vaughn has a team-best 5.04 digs per set with 38 service aces.

Abdur-Rahim leads the PBC in service aces per set, while Millians and Thigpen both rank second in assists per set and blocks per set respectively.

FMU women’s soccer has 9 players named to PBC Team

of Academic Distinction

FLORENCE, S.C. — Francis Marion University recently had nine players named to the 2019 Peach Belt Conference Team of Academic Distinction for Women‘s Soccer.

All of the team’s four seniors made the honored academic squad including midfielder Sierra Cartano (Finance major; 3.97 grade point average) of Raleigh, N.C., defender Jessica Garnett (Biology; 3.914) of Rock Hill, S.C., midfielder Carli Gauthier (Early Childhood Education; 3.658) of Tampa, Fla., and goalkeeper Micahla Kitchen (Biology; 3.818) of West End, N.C.

Three Patriot juniors were also recognized: midfielder Emma Hall (Accounting; 3.661) of Candler, N.C., midfielder/defender Megan Misuraca (Pre-Nursing; 3.811) of Apex, N.C., and forward Sarah Moll (Biology; 3.693) of Waxhaw, N.C.

The other two Patriots to be honored were sophomore defender Anna Capra (Biology; 3.603) of High Point, N.C., and sophomore goalkeeper Rachael Hennenkamp (Biology; 3.766) of Wake Forest, N.C.

Each of the players selected saw significant time on the field this year to help the Patriots conclude their season with an 8-8-1 overall record and a conference record of 4-7-0. The victory total represented a three-win improvement over the 2018 season.

FMU has 4 named to All-PBC Men’s Soccer Team

FLORENCE, S.C. — Four members of the Francis Marion University men’s soccer team were honored at the 2019 Peach Belt Conference’s annual awards banquet on Thursday in Augusta, Ga.

FMU sophomore defender Sam Pollard, senior midfielder Travis Cooke, and freshman midfielder Alvaro Zamora were all named to the first-team All-Conference Team, while junior defender Javier Morcillo was selected to the second-team All-PBC squad. In addition, Zamora was named the Peach Belt Co-Freshmen of the Year.

This quartet has helped Francis Marion to a 13-4-1 record, the most wins for the program in 11 seasons. Under the direction of first-year head coach Luis Rincon, the Patriots will face top-seeded and ninth-ranked Young Harris College in the first semifinal match of the PBC Tournament on Friday at 5 p.m. at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga.

Second-seeded Lander University will face third-seeded Clayton State University in the other semifinal match at 8 p.m. The tournament championship match is set for 3 p.m. on Sunday, also in Evans, Ga.

Pollard, who was a second-team All-Conference selection as a freshman, has started all 18 matches this season and missed only 36 minutes of action. He has scored one goal and ranks seventh in the PBC with four assists. He hails from Perth, Australia.

Cooke, a native of Chesapeake, Va., is tied for third on the team in goals (5) and tied for fourth in scoring (13 points). He leads the team and ranks first in the PBC with 50 shots. He also ranks 12th in the conference in goals, 13th in points, and 20th in assists.

Zamora, a native of Madrid, Spain, ranks second in the Peach Belt with four game-winning scores, and also lists seventh in assists (4), eighth in shots (40), 12th in points (14), and 12th in goals (5). He was named the PBC Player of the Week for Sept. 16-22.

The midfielders also helped distribute the ball so FMU could score the fourth-most goals (33) in the PBC, have the third-most shots per match (15.4), and lead the conference with 117 corner kicks (117).

Morcillo, a native of Pamplona, Spain, started 17 of the 18 matches and missed only five minutes in those 17 contests. He was named the PBC Defender of the Week for Oct. 14-20. He scored in a road win at Chowan University after venturing up from his center back position.

These four players have also played a large role in a defense that has allowed only 12 goals in 18 matches for a PBC-best team goals against average of 0.64 with a school-record-tying 10 shutouts. FMU has allowed only 57 shots on goals this season for a 3.17 per match average.

FMU has exceeded its win total of 2018 by four, and spent six weeks nationally ranked, including three weeks in the Top 10.

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