FLORENCE, S.C. – Freshman forward Le’Landra Jarvis tallied an unassisted goal in the 10th minute to lift Francis Marion University to a 1-0 win over Southern Wesleyan University, Saturday evening (Sept. 18) in Conference Carolinas women’s soccer action.
The victory upped FMU’s season mark to 1-4 and evened is conference record at 1-1, the Patriots’ initial win as a member of Conference Carolinas. Saturday’s match featured a pair of weather delays.
Jarvis received a pass near the top of the penalty area, juked to her left, and then came back to the middle of the field to fire a 21-yard attempt into the Warrior goal at the 9:04 mark. She finished the evening with a team-high six shots.
Patriot junior goalkeeper Makayla Willets recorded five save en route to her third career shutout at FMU. Sophomore Ainara Eizaguirre and freshman Linsey Downey each added three shots for the Patriots.
Thigpen excels for PatriotsFLORENCE — Senior middle blocker Iyanla Thigpen combined for 24 kills and six blocks as Francis Marion University split two matches on the final day of the annual FMU Invitational Volleyball Tournament held Saturday (Sept. 18). The Patriots defeated Queens University of Charlotte 25-20, 20-25, 20-25, 26-24, 15-7 early in the afternoon, before losing to national power Gannon University in the tournament nightcap 30-28, 25-12, 25-13.
FMU (4-8) will open Conference Carolinas play on Wednesday evening with a 6 p.m. road match at Barton College. The next home match for the Patriots will be Friday (Sept. 24) against the University of Mount Olive at 6 p.m.
In the marathon victory over Queens, Thigpen registered 16 kills with a .387 hitting percentage and three blocks. Junior hitter Gracie Davis added 15 kills, while graduate student setter Naina Ivanova handled the setting duties and tallied 54 assists, 21 digs, and two service aces.
The FMU defense held the Royals to a .122 team hitting percentage while recording a season-high 103 digs, the team’s highest total since a 104-effort in the 2019 season finale against Lander University. Freshman libero Zoie Larkins led Francis Marion with a career-high 28 digs, while freshman defensive specialist Peyton Holley, a new addition to the squad, dug up a career-high 20 balls.
FMU sophomore Lexi Albright chipped in nine kills and 17 digs.
After a sizzling game-one effort that saw the Patriots hit .345, Queens rallied to post identical 25-20 wins. The fourth set featured 14 ties and seven lead changes. A kill by senior Lily Walton and a Queens’ attacking error helped FMU break a 24-24 deadlock and force a fifth set.
In the final set, a pair of kills by Davis staked Francis Marion to a 2-0 lead that the Patriots would never relinquish.
Thigpen and Davis each registered eight kills in the later contest with Gannon (10-2), which is among the other teams receiving votes in this week’s AVCA Top 25 poll. Walton added seven kills.
Ivanova dished out 28 assists, while Larkins, Holley, and Albright had 14, 13, and 13 digs respectively.
The Patriots gave the Lady Knights all they could handle in the opening game. The long contest featured 10 ties and three lead changes. FMU had one set point of its own and fought off four set points before finally succumbing. In third set, again Francis Marion battled hard before dropping the two-point decision 25-23.