UNCG holds on for five-set win at Furman
GREENVILLE, SC – UNC Greensboro won the
first two sets and then had to hold off a Furman rally to defeat
the Lady Paladins, 25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 18-25, 15-9, Saturday night
in Southern Conference volleyball action.
Kayren Finney had 15 kills and hit .387 for the match to lead UNCG (19-9, 11-4 SoCon) to its fourth straight win. The Spartans also got 10 kills from Branagan Fuller in gaining a measure of redemption after a 3-2 loss at home to Furman earlier this season. Catherine Hanners also had 23 digs for UNCG.
Furman (15-13, 8-7) got 18 kills from Alison West and 17 by Kathrine Hall. The Lady Paladins hit well for most of the night, hitting .231 or better in the first four sets. But they had just four kills against five errors in the fifth and final set to fall back to the pack in a four-team race for the final three Southern Conference Tournament spots in the South Division.
UNCG has already clinched a spot in the tournament as one of four North Division representatives. The Spartans remained in a tie for second in the North Division, keeping pace with Chattanooga, which won at Appalachian State, 3-1, on Saturday night.
In the opening set, the Spartans broke open a 9-9 match by going on an 8-3 run. Furman rallied to tie it, however, at 18-18 on a kill by West. UNCG rebounded, however, to take the set, 25-23.
In the second, an early 7-2 run gave UNCG an 11-6 advantage. Furman got back to within one at 19-18 following a service error by Hanners. The margin was still one at 22-21, but a kill by Alissa Beaudway, a bad Furman set and an ace by Branagan Fuller gave the Spartans a two-set advantage, 25-21.
The tables were turned in the third as it was Furman getting the early lead and the Spartans having to play catch-up. Furman gained a 6-2 lead after Nicole Palazzo's second consecutive kill. The Spartans tied it at 9-9 on a kill by Caley Redden, but Furman responded with an 9-3 run, capped off by a Palazzo kill to make it 17-12. UNCG regained a brief lead at 20-19 following a bad set by Furman, but the Paladins ran off six straight to close out the set and stay alive.
The momentum had swung Furman's way at that point as the Lady Paladins jumped out 14-5 in the fourth. Leading by as many as 11, Furman forced the fifth set with a 25-18 win.
Furman ran out of gas in the fifth, however. With a 5-4 lead, UNCG ran off five straight, taking advantage of three straight errors by Furman. Furman didn't get closer than four after that with Finney closing out the match with her 15th kill of the night.
UNCG, which hasn't had three-straight 20-win seasons since the early 1990s, will go for its third consecutive 20-win season on Sunday when it visits Wofford for a 2 pm start.
UNCG def. Furman 25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 18-25, 15-9
UNCG (19-9, 11-4 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Kayren Finney 15-0-7; Branagan Fuller 10-2-2; Billi Baker 8-0-3; Kaitlyn Nortz 8-0-7; Caley Redden 7-0-2; Alissa Beaudway 6-0-7; Clara Tse 1-0-0; Lisa Fawell 1-1-0; Totals 56-3-15.0. (Assists) - Lisa Fawell 26; Kimiko Naito 23. (Dig leaders) - Catherine Hanners 23; Branagan Fuller 13; Caley Redden 9
Furman (15-13, 8-7 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Alison West 18-0-3; Katherine Hall 17-0-0; Nicole Palazzo 11-0-0; Kelly Kirby 8-0-1; Alexis Shaffer 6-0-4; Kelsey Salava 4-1-0; Pamela Gehrke 0-2-0; Carolyn Nicoletti 0-1-0; Totals 64-4-6.0. (Assists) - Kelsey Salava 47. (Dig leaders) - Carolyn Nicoletti 22; Alison West 10; Kelly Kirby 10; Kelsey Salava 9
- UNCG -