Spartans fall in another five-set heartbreaker
BOONE, N.C. – UNC Greensboro was eliminated from postseason contention on Wednesday evening in the Holmes Center as they fell to Appalachian State, 3-2, in another heartbreaking loss. It was the Spartans' fourth-straight five-set match over the past two weeks.
The Spartans now sit at 16-14 on the year and 8-7 in Southern Conference play with one game remaining. The Mountaineers improved to 13-16 this season and 9-6 in league action.
"We could make a lot of excuses for our very poor play," said head coach Patrick Nicholas. "We have a lot of injuries and players who were sick, but the bottom line is the opponent doesn't care. We were very lethargic, uninspired and didn't communicate well. It was really disappointing to see that knowing we were still playing for a chance to make the conference tournament. This has been our issue all year. We can play some great inspired volleyball, while at other times we just don't compete hard and communicate. As a staff, we will have to work on this in the spring and we have to find athletes that will compete hard every single day and match."
Luciana Shafer continued her impressive play as of late as she recorded a team-high 18 kills and 22 digs. Caley Redden recorded 12 kills and 18 digs for her team-leading 14th double-double on the year and her fifth in a row. Ari Lysacek had 39 assists and 10 digs for her 11th double-double this season.
With the two teams knotted a two, they headed for a final fifth set. The Mountaineers took an early 3-0 which forced UNCG to call a timeout, but the Spartans came out of the timeout and went on a 6-0 run, capped off by a Billi Baker kill. Appalachian State came back to tie the set at eight, but the Spartans went ahead 10-8 on kill by Shafer. A Redden kill gave UNCG match-point at 14-13 and again at 15-14, but the Mountaineers got back-to-back kills from Kelly Rhein and Maja Jechorek scored her 28th kill of the night to seal the win for the home squad.
The Spartans started the match a little slow and fell behind early, 7-4, but UNCG took an 8-7 lead a few points later on a block by BAKER and Kayren Finney. The two teams went on to trade a few points before UNCG used an 8-2 run midway through the set to take a 20-15 lead. The Mountaineers fought back to pull within 23-21, but the committed back-to-back errors as UNCG took the first set, 25-21.
Appalachian State responded by taking control of the second set from the beginning as they found themselves holding a 5-0 lead before UNCG finally got on the board with a kill by Shafer. The Mountaineers went on to extend their lead to 13-3 on a kill by Jechorek before cruising to take the set, 25-15.
The Mountaineers once again took control early in the set as Meghann Forshey's kill gave them a 6-2 lead. UNCG came back to within 16-14, but was never able to gain the lead in the set. Another kill by Forshey gave Appalachian State the set, 25-19, and a 2-1 lead in the team score.
The Spartans fought back though in the fourth set in order to force a fifth set. UNCG led for most of the early going, but the Mountaineers took a 16-14 lead after a 9-4 run. With the two teams knotted at 20 late in the set, the Spartans won the final five points of the set to win the set, 25-20.
The Spartans play their final match of the season on Saturday as they travel to take on Western Carolina at 3 p.m. in the Ramsey Center.
Appalachian St. def. UNC Greensboro: 21-25, 25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 17-15
UNC Greensboro (16-14, 8-7 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Luciana Shafer 18-1-0; Caley Redden 12-0-5; Kayren Finney 10-0-5; Billi Baker 4-0-3; Emily Lindborg 3-1-2; Olivia Humphries 1-0-0; Kimiko Naito 1-0-0; Ari Lysacek 1-1-0; Alissa Beaudway 0-0-1; Totals 50-3-9.0. (Assists) - Ari Lysacek 39. (Dig leaders) - Luciana Shafer 22; Caley Redden 18; Kayleigh Knerr 12; Ari Lysacek 10
Appalachian St. (13-16, 9-6 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Maja Jechorek 28-0-1; Meghann Forshey 18-0-3; Kelly Rhein 14-0-2; Caroline Sedon 7-1-11; Becca Norris 5-0-5; Kasey Sauls 3-1-1; Lauren Swecker 1-1-1; Totals 76-3-16.0. (Assists) - Kasey Sauls 57. (Dig leaders) - Cassie Engelgau 29; Maja Jechorek 17; Kasey Sauls 15; Courtney Rhein 12; Lauren Swecker 11
Site: Boone,N.C. (Holmes Center)
Date: Nov 11, 2009 Attend: 291 Time: 2:08
- UNCG -