GREENVILLE, S.C. - Senior Natalie Braun recorded a double-double with a team-high 25 kills and 17 digs and notched a .500 attack percentage as the Furman volleyball team extended its winning streak to seven matches with a thrilling 3-1 (25-16, 21-25, 25-23, 25-19) victory over Clemson Tuesday in Alley Gymnasium to open the 2012 home season. The win, the Paladins' first over the Tigers in Greenville in the history of the series, increases Furman's home winning streak to 17 matches.
The teams remained within two points in the opening set before back-to-back kills from Braun gave the Paladins a 20-16 lead. Following a Tiger attack error, Braun served three consecutive aces to push the advantage to 24-16, before serving match point for the set win.
Clemson answered in the second set, reeling off four-straight points to break open a 5-5 tie. The Tigers built a seven-point lead at 21-14 and seemed to have control of the set, but a 6-1 run kept the Paladins in the match at 22-20. The teams traded points, then a kill from Tiger Kristin Faust, coupled with a block by Mo Simmons, sealed the Tiger win, leaving the teams tied at one set apiece at the break.
The Tigers came out strong early in set three, building a quick 10-6 lead, but Braun came through again with back-to-back kills to put the Paladins right back in the set. Clemson maintained a two point lead throughout the set, before a kill from senior Caroline Adams and an attack error by Faust tied the set at 20-all. The teams remained tied at 21, then consecutive kills from Adams and rookie Amelia Bohlander pushed the momentum toward the Paladins, giving the team a 23-21 advantage. An additional Adams kill increased the Furman lead to 24-22, before Chandler Ambrester's kill at match point put the Paladins ahead two sets to one.
Furman capitalized off the electric atmosphere in Alley Gymnasium, leading wire-to-wire in set four to claim the match. Clemson came within three points of the Paladins at 21-18, but the Furman seniors remained tough, as Ambrester and Adams posted key kills down the stretch, then the senior duo claimed a block assist on the final point to seal the victory.
Freshman Jo Wilks notched her fourth double-double of the season, tallying 61 assists and 13 digs in the match-up. Ambrester recorded 20 kills and eight digs for the Paladins, while junior libero Elle Ross notched 18 digs to pace the Furman defense. Freshman Caitlyn Scioscia added 13 digs, and junior Christina Dorismond posted seven kills, two block solos, and three block assists in the win.
Clemson (7-1) was led by Faust and Simmons, who each notched 15 kills in the loss. Serenat Yaz and Sandra Adeleye each recorded 11 kills, while setter Hannah Brenner posted a team-high 51 assists. Libero Natalie Patzin led the Tiger defense with 16 digs.
Furman (8-1) will travel to Missoula, Mont., this weekend for the Best Western Grant Creek Inn Invitational. The Paladins will face Montana Friday at 9 p.m., then play Texas Tech and Towson on Saturday.
Georgia Southern 3, Mercer 0
STATESBORO, Ga. - Moriah Bellissimo posted 13 kills and 15 digs to lead Georgia Southern to a 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-21) volleyball victory over Mercer Tuesday night in Hanner Fieldhouse.
It was the home opener for the Eagles (5-2), who also got 12 kills and three blocks from Meredith Paskert. Kate Van Dyke, who was honored before the game for breaking the school career record in assists, notched a match-high 41 helpers, and Alexandra Beecher posted 22 digs. Enjoli Johnson added eight kills.
Jamie Duffey led Mercer (2-2) with seven kills to go along with 21 digs, and Molly Locke logged seven kills and 10 digs. Emily Rochefort collected 18 digs.
Despite winning all three sets, Georgia Southern had to labor through some long rallies and overcome a five-point deficit in the final set. The Eagles hit below .200 in the first two sets before hitting .333 in the third frame, tallying 19 kills on 48 swings.
Trailing 15-10 in the third set, the Eagles used a 10-3 run, keyed by three kills by Johnson and two by Bellissimo, to take a 20-18 lead. Then with GSU ahead 21-20, Jamie DeRatt and Bellissimo logged consecutive kills for a three-point cushion. DeRatt put down another ball, and Johnson and Van Dyke combined for a block to end the match.
The Eagles jumped out to a 6-2 cushion in the first set, but Mercer battled back and a Locke kill tied the score 9-9. A Bellissimo kill capped an 8-3 GSU run as the Eagles took control 17-12, but the Bears used a 10-3 run of their own to take a 22-20 advantage. Georgia Southern answered by scoring the last five points of the set, as Paskert notched two kills, to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Georgia Southern never trailed in the second set and clinging to a 15-13 advantage, the Eagles used an 8-3 run to pull away. Nicole Jeschelnik, Johnson and Paskert all had kills in the run.
Georgia Southern returns to action at the New Mexico Invitational in Albuquerque this weekend. The Eagles will face New Mexico Friday and UC-Santa Barbara and Portland Saturday.
Elon 3, Radford 2
RADFORD, Va. - The Elon volleyball won its sixth straight match in as many years over Radford tonight, Sept. 4, with a thrilling five-set victory, 3-2 (25-23, 25-14, 23-25, 15-25, 15-12), in the Dedmon Center. A career-high 24 kills by freshman Megan Gravley helped the Phoenix improve to 4-4, while the Highlanders fall to 4-4.
Gravley led all players with her 24 kills, while also recording two aces, 11 digs and three blocks. Sophomore Danielle Smith and senior Allison Johnson finished with nine and eight kills, respectively.
The Phoenix out blocked the Highlanders 14-7 on defense, while junior Maggie Reichard tallied a career-high 23 digs.
The first set was a back and forth affair with Radford maintaining the advantage until a kill and ace by Gravley put the Phoenix up by one, 14-13. With the set tied at 15-all, a block by Kris Harris and D. Smith started Elon on a 4-1 run that gave the maroon and gold a three-point lead, 19-16. Radford rallied to tie the set at 22-all and take a one-point lead, 23-22. The Phoenix then scored three straight with the help of a block by Johnson and another block by Harris and D. Smith to win the set, 25-23.
With the second set tied early at three-all, Elon went on a three-point run off a block by Catherine Head and D. Smith and a kill by Gravley to lead by three, 6-3. Radford then cut its deficit to two, 6-4, but the Phoenix put together a 10-2 run capped by a kill by Johnson to take a 10-point advantage, 16-6, and force the Highlanders to call its second timeout. Radford cut the maroon and gold's lead to eight, 19-12, but a kill by Johnson and a block by D. Smith and Head put Elon back up by nine, 21-12. With the set at 22-14, in favor of the Phoenix, Elon scored the final three points off a block by Head and Johnson, a kill by D. Smith and a kill by Harris to win the set, 25-14, and take a 2-0 match lead.
Another kill by Gravley, her 14th of the match, helped Elon open to a 5-1 lead before Radford came back to tie the set at eight-all. The Highlanders claimed the next two points for a 10-8 lead before the Phoenix put together a 5-2 run off kills by D. Smith, Head and Johnson and a block by Harris and Johnson for a one-point advantage, 13-12. The set remained close with neither team taking the lead by more than a point until four straight by the maroon and gold made it 22-19. Radford would end the set on a 5-1 run to keep Elon from the sweep with a 25-23 win.
The Highlanders took their momentum from the third set into the fourth and went out to a 13-10 lead. Elon used an ace by Ana Nicksic and a kill by Head to go on a 3-1 run to pull within one, 14-13. After a kill by D. Smith made it 16-14 in favor of Radford, the Highlanders managed a 9-1 run to win the set, 25-15, and send the match into a deciding fifth set.
Elon opened the fifth set 3-0 off a block by Gravley and Head and a kill by Gravley. With the set tied at four-all, the Phoenix scored four straight with two more kills by Gravley and another block by Head and Gravley to take an 8-4 advantage. Radford pulled within one of the maroon and gold, 13-12, but Elon was able to hold off the Highlanders with a block by Gravley and Head to win the set, 15-12, and the match, 3-2.
The Phoenix will make the short drive down I-40 this weekend for the Duke Challenge against Duke, Northeastern and East Carolina. Elon plays Duke in its first match of the tournament on Friday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m.
Chattanooga 3, Alabama A&M 1
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.-- The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team claimed its fourth consecutive home win Tuesday night with a 3-1 win over Alabama A&M.
Chattanooga improved its record to 5-0 all-time against the Bulldogs with the victory at Maclellan Gym. UTC is now 4-3 on the season while Alabama A&M falls to 0-8.
Senior leaders Christina Teter and Heather Parman were instrumental to the Mocs attacking game. The local duo recorded 11 and 10 kills, respectively, while freshmen Sarah Batterton, Lauren Gainer and Julimar Alvarado each tallied nine. Junior Bridget Camacho accounted for 41 assists of the 50 total kills put up by UTC hitters.
Paula Passmore led on the defensive side of the ball for the Mocs with 30 digs, sharing the court with Gainer who collected 12 digs. Teter stood tall with three block assists and freshman Briana Reid assisted with two blocks.
Chattanooga found itself in hot water early with a 25-20 loss in the first set of the match. While the Mocs out-killed the Bulldogs in the first set, 13-11, Chattanooga committed twice as many errors and only earned a .128 hitting percentage for the frame. The score was neck-and-neck until Alabama A&M took a 20-19 lead and walked away with the win.
UTC bounced back in the second set with a 25-16 victory. Chattanooga jumped ahead 10-4 and never gave away the lead. The Bulldogs put together a small drive at 24-13 to get within eight points of the Mocs, but UTC earned the set point on a kill from Alvarado.
Alabama A&M battled back during the third frame in a matchup similar to the first of the match. The Bulldogs took the first point and the two teams exchanged leads until the score was tied 15-15. Chattanooga then went on a 10-3 run to take it 25-18.
Much like set three, set four was another back-and-forth battle early. The Mocs took a 10-9 lead en route to a 25-16 victory after exchanging the lead 10 times. UTC sealed the match win with a kill from Gainer.
Chattanooga returns to action Friday as the Mocs travel to Kennesaw, Ga., to compete in the Kennesaw State Owls Classic. The Mocs play four matches at the tournament, facing off against Troy, Kennesaw State, North Carolina Central and in-state rival Tennessee State.
UNC Asheville 3, Western Carolina 2
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - After leading 2-0 going into the break, Western Carolina fell on the road in five sets (25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 21-25, 12-15) to mountain-rival UNC-Asheville at the Justice Center Tuesday night despite a career night from sophomores Caitlin Piechota, Leah Butler and Jordan Timmermann.
Piechota led the Catamounts in kills with a career-high 20 kills. Butler, a Carrizo Springs, Texas, native finished the match with a career-high 17 kills, hitting at a .387 clip. Timmermann also set an all-time best with 15 kills, higher than her 14 that she reached twice last year. Senior Abbey Scroggins also added 10 kills for the Purple and Gold.
Western Carolina jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the match, winning set one 25-23 and set two 25-18. Butler notched eight kills in the first set alone.
In set three, the Catamounts overcame a five-point deficit to tie the set at 20. Both teams went back and forth with two more ties before the Bulldogs would reach set point at 24-22. WCU got within one, but UNCA won the set with a kill by Anna Moore.
The Bulldogs pulled ahead with a seven-point lead and set-point lead with WCU down 24-17. The Catamounts would then go on a 4-0 run before UNCA would take the set 25-21.
The fifth and deciding set saw five ties and two lead changes as the teams were neck and neck through 10 points. Two kills by Caitlin Piechota would keep Western close by getting within one at 12-13, but it would be all the Catamounts could muster, losing the set and the match, 15-12.
Defensively, Western Carolina picked up nine total blocks, with four Catamounts in double-digit digs. Libero Morgan Cochran picked up a season-high 25 digs with sophomore Paige McConlough adding 22. Piechota and Timmermann added 14 and 13, respectively.
Western Carolina returns to the road as the Catamounts travel to North Carolina State for the N.C. State Courtyard Midtown Invitational to take on the Wolfpack as well as Campbell University and Central Michigan. WCU opens up with the Wolfpack Friday at 7:00 pm.
High Point 3, UNCG 2
HIGH POINT, N.C. - UNCG rallied from a 2-0 deficit at High Point Tuesday night, but the Panthers commanded the deciding set and recorded a 3-2 nonconference volleyball victory over UNCG Tuesday night at the Millis Center. The Panthers improved to 5-3 while the Spartans fell for the first time this season and are 3-1.
Sophomore Kelsey Sidney filled up the stat sheet, garnering her first career double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs to go along with two aces and four blocks. Freshman Lauren Betlach led UNCG with 12 kills and hit .231 while racking up six digs. Speaking of defense, junior Kellie Orewiler tallied 25 digs while rookie Katherine Santiago totaled 24 to set her young career's best mark.
The Spartans hit just .114 in the match to High Point's .172 and the Panthers also had the upper hand in digs (96-93) and kills (66-45). UNCG did out-block its hosts 9.0-5.0.
A strong serving run by Lysacek propelled UNCG to a 5-1 lead before the Panthers responded with four-straight point to tie the score. The teams stayed close and traded points until, with the score tied at 10, High Point went on a 6-1 run to push ahead 16-11 - forcing a timeout from the Spartan bench. The advantage grew to 18-11 before Chambers ended the scoring string with a block on the left side. UNCG tried to rally one last time, pulling within 20-16, but HPU proved too much and claimed the opening set by a 25-18 count.
The Spartans hit just .059 in the frame while allowing the home team to fire at a .314 clip. High Point also held the upper hand in the dig column at 16-13.
UNCG took control of the second interval from the outset, using some nice hitting by Humphries and scrappy defense to push out to an 11-4 lead. The Panthers responded as they did in the first set, scoring four consecutive times to draw within 11-8 and force a Spartan timeout. HPU put two more points on the board before Kelsey Sidney ended the run with a kill from the left side. A Panther attack error made the score 17-12 in favor of UNCG, but High Point rallied once more to make it a two-point affair at 18-16. The serving of Johnk carried the Panthers all the way to end of the interval as HPU took the 25-19 victory to take control of the match.
Through the first two sets, High Point produced a .250 hitting mark while holding the Spartans to a .106 showing. Johnk led all players with nine kills and Panther libero Molly Barlow racked up a match-best 16 digs.
It was High Point which raced ahead in the third set, building a 9-2 lead. Humphries kept UNCG in it with some tough serving, as the Spartans pulled within two at 12-10 via a Panther attack error. UNCG was able to complete the comeback, knotting the score at 17 with a block by Humphries and Lauren Betlach. It was Betlach who was able to put down a kill a few points later and give the Spartans a 19-17 advantage before Humphries produced a service ace to cap an 8-3 frame-ending run and keep UNCG alive in the match.
The Spartans limited the hosts to a .000 hitting percentage in the set, out-dug the Panthers 23-21 and held a 2.0-1.0 advantage in total blocks. Betlach hit .333 in the frame with three kills.
UNCG was able to build a 22-18 lead late in the fourth frame, but High Point rallied with five-straight points to move ahead 23-22. The Spartans tied the interval at 24 on a bad set call on the Panthers, and the teams went back and forth before a HPU attack error and a Chambers kill sent the match to the deciding set, 28-26. UNCG hit .205 in the frame to aid its cause.
The Panthers edged ahead by an 8-5 score as Chambers committed an attack error. After the teams switched benches, High Point scored four of the next six points to take a commanding 12-7 lead. The Spartans scored just once more as the Panthers ended the marathon match with an ace.
UNCG opens its home schedule Friday, welcoming UNC Asheville to Fleming Gymnasium for the first match of the Spartan-Aggie Invitational. First serve is set for 7 p.m.