Spartans top Western Carolina 3-2
CULLOWHEE, NC – UNC Greensboro won its second Southern Conference match of the season, defeating Western Carolina 3-2 on Saturday at the Ramsey Center. Set scores were 14-25, 25-15, 21-25, 25-12,15-11.
In the first set, UNCG faced a tough Western Carolina offense that hit .500 and made 14 kills off 26 total attacks with one error. The Catamounts had a six-point run early in the set to take a 12-6 lead and then eventually used a five-point run to take a 20-8 advantage. The Spartans began to chip away at the deficit, tallying three-straight points off kills by junior Branagan Fuller and sophomore Kayren Finney and a service ace by senior Kaitlyn Nortz to make it a 21-12 set. However, the Catamounts scored four of the set's last five points en route to winning the set and taking a 1-0 advantage in the match.
The Spartans rebounded in the second set, making 13 kills off 23 total attacks with one error en route to hitting .522. UNCG got started early on as a Fuller kill started a four-point run that put the Spartans up 7-5. Western Carolina pulled to within one with a Katie Hennessey kill, but another kill from Fuller ignited a five-point run that included kills from sophomore Billi Baker and Finney and a Fuller service ace to put the Spartans up 12-6. UNCG eventually pushed its lead to eight as Nortz and sophomore Alissa Beaudway blocked a Catamount attack to make it 18-10. Western Carolina ultimately pulled to within six, but the Spartans concluded the set with a four-point run to tie the match 1-1.
UNCG led early in the third set until kill by Liz Rondone gave the Catamounts a 10-9 advantage. However, UNCG got the next three points in order to go up 12-10. Western Carolina eventually evened the set at 13-13, but the Spartans put together another three-point run in order to take the lead. UNCG was in the lead until Carrie Minogue had a kill that sparked a three-point run for the Catamounts and tied the set at 19-all. A kill from Nortz on the next play allowed the Spartans to take a one-point advantage, but back-to-back Western Carolina kills gave the Catamounts a 21-20 edge. A Finney kill knotted the set up at 21, but Western Carolina won the set by scoring four straight points and took a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Spartans maintained the lead throughout the entire fourth set, using multiple runs to establish control of the set. UNCG scored the first four points of the set. The Spartans used four three-point runs and back-to-back points to eventually take an 18-5 advantage. Western Carolina cut the deficit down to 11 on three different occasions, but UNCG got the four of the set's last six points in order to win the set and force a deciding fifth set. The Spartans' final four points included three kills from Fuller, including the set-winner, and a service ace by junior Catherine Hanners.
In the fifth set, UNCG scored the first four points, but Western Carolina responded with four-straight points to tie the set. A trio of kills from Fuller, freshman Luciana Shafer and Nortz provided UNCG with a 7-4 advantage. Western Carolina pulled to within one after getting back-to-back points with an Amanda Kerr block and a Minogue kill. After trading points, UNCG eventually took a three-point lead as Western Carolina had an attack error and Finney notched a kill to make it 10-7. The Catamounts eventually pulled to within one again as Rebecca Stoltz had a kill and a UNCG attack error made it a 12-11 set. However, UNCG got the final three points it needed as Fuller had a kill, Nortz and Baker blocked a Western Carolina attack and Hanners served a match-winning ace.
Fuller posted a 22-kill, 12-dig double-double and also hit a team-best .383 (22 kills off 47 total attacks with four errors). Finney chipped in with a .333 hitting percentage, making 16 kills off 33 total attacks with five errors. She also had three solo blocks. Sophomore Kimiko Naito put up 25 assists. Hanners totaled 17 digs and five service aces, while Nortz had eight total blocks (one solo, seven block assists).
Kerr led Western Carolina with 16 kills. Hennessey totaled 36 assists, while Rondone tallied 23 digs.
UNCG is back in action on Friday, Oct. 3 when the Spartans host Furman at Fleming Gymnasium. Match time is set for 7 p.m.
UNCG def. Western Carolina 14-25,25-15,21-25,25-12,15-11
UNCG (10-5, 2-0 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Branagan Fuller 22-2-3;Kayren Finney 16-0-3; Billi Baker 8-0-1; Kaitlyn Nortz 6-1-8; Clara Tse 4-0-0; Alissa Beaudway 1-0-2; Luciana Shafer 1-0-1; Kimiko Naito 0-2-0; Catherine Hanners 0-5-0; Totals 58-10-11.0. (Assists) – Kimiko Naito 25; Lisa Fawell 16. (Dig leaders) - Catherine Hanners 17; Branagan Fuller 12; Clara Tse 10
Western Carolina (2-12, 0-1 Socon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Amanda Kerr 16-0-1; Carrie Minogue 12-2-2; Rebecca Stoltz 8-0-1; Brittany Lysik 7-1-0; Katie Hennessey 5-1-2; Kara Lynzee Brooks 2-0-0; Liz Rondone 1-0-0; Totals 51-4-4.0. (Assists) - Katie Hennessey 36. (Dig leaders) - Liz Rondone 23; Katie Hennessey 11; Sara Gantt 9; Brittany Lysik 8
- UNCG -