GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG volleyball team won its third-straight match Saturday night inside Fleming Gymnasium, sweeping the season series with Appalachian State with a 3-1 victory. The Spartans improve to 13-11 overall and 7-5 in SoCon play while the Mountaineers drop to 6-20 and 2-10.
With the win, head coach Patrick Nicholas earned his 197th career victory – putting him within reasonable reach of picking up his 200th this season.
"This was a hard-fought win," Nicholas said. "Appalachian State is struggling right now, but they are well-coached team and continue to fight. The enthusiasm we have showed in the last four or five matches wasn't there at the beginning, but we talked about it in the locker during intermission and played better in the last two sets. We have been doing a good job of terminating the ball and scoring points not only on offense but with serving and blocking as well."
UNCG hit better than .250 for the third consecutive contest, firing at a .255 clip with 62 kills in the four sets. The Blue and Gold did a good job of limiting Appalachian's offensive efficiency as the Mountaineers were limited to a .152 showing. The Spartans were also very effective defensively, racking up 87 digs for an average of 21.8 per set. Additionally, in the fourth frame, UNCG converted on all but one of its sideout opportunities.
Juniors Olivia Humphries and Karrian Chambers netted double-doubles for the second-straight match as Humphries posted 20 kills and 11 digs while Chambers contributed 13 kills and 15 digs. Senior setter Ari Lysacek continues to run the offense well after returning from injury as she distributed 58 assists to go along with nine digs and three block assists. Additionally, junior Morgan Freeman capped a stellar weekend with 13 kills in the match and a hitting percentage of .360.
"I am very happy with the outcome of the match tonight," Humphries stated. "It was huge for us to put together a 2-0 weekend. We have been working hard and it's starting to pay off at the right time."
It was a career night again for freshman Julia Westerbur, as she posted her first-ever double-digit kill effort with 11 while adding four blocks. She hit .435 in the match – making just one error on 23 attempts. Defensively, junior Kellie Orewiler recorded a match-high 25 digs while freshman Katherine Santiago checked in with 16 of her own.
UNCG jumped out to a 7-1 lead, prompting a timeout from the Mountaineer bench. The lead grew to 12-4 when Chambers put down a kill, but Appalachian began to rally. A ball-handling error by Kelsey Sidney capped a 12-6 run for the Mountaineers, pulling them to within 18-16, but the Spartans managed three-straight points out of a timeout to put away the visitors in set one by a 25-21 score.
The second interval was a mirror image of the first as Appalachian State ran up an 8-3 lead on a kill by Jacqui Spurgeon. However, UNCG managed to cut the deficit to 13-10, prompting a Mountaineer timeout. ASU was able to manage a pair of kills out of the respite to establish a five-point cushion and held the Spartans at an arm's length the rest of the way to tie the match with a 25-22 set two win.
Out of the intermission, UNCG took a 4-1 lead thanks in part to kills from three different players. The Mountaineers were able to tie the score at 15 eventually, but the Spartans scored five of the next seven to take control 20-17. Appalachian was able to stave off a set point down 24-20, but a Lindsey Sauls service error gave UNCG the set 25-21 and a 2-1 lead in the match.
A kill by Humphries put the Spartans ahead 8-5 in set four and UNCG stayed ahead by four when Humphries recorded another kill off a blocking error by Jessica Eley. The Blue and Gold would not be denied the rest of the way as UNCG cruised to a 25-15 victory and sealed the match.
The Spartans will play two road matches next weekend, beginning Friday, Nov. 2 at Chattanooga. The contest is set for 6 p.m. at Maclellan Gym.