BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- In the 2012 home opener, Samford had its best offensive performance of the season, helping lead the Bulldogs to a 3-0 sweep over the North Alabama Lions Wednesday night.
Samford (2-5) earned a season-high .307 attack percentage, led by Lauren Hutchinson with 11 kills and a .667 clip. Hutchinson and fellow middle blocker Katie Murphy combined for three solo blocks and three block assists. Casey Garvey paced the offense with 34 assists while Alexis Bauer led the defense with 14 digs.
North Alabama (1-4) struggled offensively, hitting .040 with no player earning double-digit kills. Priscilla Massengale led their attack with nine kills while Caroline Neisler led the defense with 11 digs.
The visiting Lions jumped ahead to an early 7-2 lead in the opening frame, but Samford charged right back tying the match at 9-9. Play was even for the middle portion of the set, but Samford began to pull away tied at 15-15, as the Bulldogs reached set point thanks to a 9-3 run. Garvey served for the 25th point and Hutchinson and Erika Devaughn paired up for a block to seal the 25-18 win.
It was Samford who got off to the hot start in set two, putting up six unanswered points to begin the frame. The Bulldogs would maintain the six-point lead until, up 18-12, a pair of kills by Hutchinson and one by Devaughn would put Samford up 21-12. Up nine looking at set point, 24-15, Murphy slapped down a hard kill to give the Bulldogs the 25-15 set win and the 2-0 match edge.
The Lions kept the beginning of set three close, as the teams battled to a 6-6 tie. A UNA service error put Samford up 7-6 and with Michaela Reesor at the service line, Samford would rattle off six consecutive points to pull ahead 13-6 and force a visitor timeout. A Bauer service ace and a kill by Reesor would give Samford another seven-point lead later, up 16-9, to force another UNA timeout. The teams would trade three points each but Samford would then go on a 5-0 run, started by back-to-back service aces by Garvey, to reach match point up 24-12. UNA would earn one point on a blocking error but Neisler finished it with a kill on the next rally as Samford took set three 25-13 to complete the sweep.
Next, Samford heads to Atlanta, Ga., for the Georgia State Tournament, playing three matches over two days. The Bulldogs open the weekend against host team Georgia State on Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET. Samford then faces South Alabama (10 a.m. ET) and Mercer (5 p.m. ET) on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Wofford 3, Gardner-Webb 1
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - Led by Amanda Liguori's match-high 17 kills and .429 hitting percentage, the Wofford volleyball team knocked off Gardner-Webb 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-17) Wednesday night in the Paul Porter Arena.
Wofford improves to 5-3 overall and has now reeled off five wins in its last six matches going back to team's 3-2 win over Ole Miss on August 25. Gardner-Webb falls to 1-7 overall on the young season.
Gardner-Webb took an early 10-6 lead with a 5-1 highlighted by two Heather Feldman kills, but Wofford answered with as a block by Rachel Woodlee and Wendy Burnett cut the lead 10-8. The Runnin' Bulldogs kept the lead as the margin varied between two and three points, until a Burnett kill sparked a 3-0 Wofford run as they tied the set at 12. Gardner-Webb responded with a kill by Carol Salona and block by Tyler Cockrell to retake a two-point lead, 15-13. The Terriers retied the set at 15 on an Amanda Liguori ace, and took the lead, 17-16, on a Burnett kill off an over pass. However, Gardner-Webb answered with a 3-0 run sparked by a Heather Feldman kill. Following a Terrier timeout, back-to-back Woodlee kills tied the set at 19. The two teams traded the next six points, until the Runnin' Bulldogs pushed the final two points on a kill from Feldman and a block by Cockrell gave Gardner-Webb a 25-23 win.
The Runnin' Bulldogs opened up 6-3 lead to open the second set, but Wofford used two Gardner-Webb attack errors and a kill by Liguori to mount a 4-0 run and take an 7-6 lead. With the score tied at nine, Wofford used two Alex Bidgood kills to take an 11-9 lead, only to see Gardner-Webb use a 4-0 run sparked by two Terrier attack errors as they pulled ahead 13-11. After a Wofford timeout, Wofford trimmed the lead to one point, 13-12, on a Gardner-Webb ball handling error. Trailing 14-12, Wofford used kills from Woodlee and Liguori to go on a 5-1 run take a 17-15 lead. However, the Runnin' Bulldogs responded with a 4-0 run to take a 19-17 lead sparked by kills by Callie Hildebrand and Emily Hote. Liguori ended the run with a kill only to see Cockrell regain the two-point, 20-18, lead with a solo block. Down 21-19, Wofford retied the set at 21 on kills from Liguori and Woodlee. After trading points, Wofford used a Reagan Styles ace, a Gardner-Webb attack error and a kill credited to Woodlee on a Runnin' Bulldog blocking error to win the set 25-22.
The Terriers jumped out to an 8-1 lead to open the third set and force an early Gardner-Webb timeout. Liguori, Woodlee and Burnett all had kills during the start of the streak. The Runnin' Bulldogs trimmed the lead to five points, 9-4, but Wofford responded with kill from Taylor Baird and an attack error by Gardner-Webb to push the lead back to seven points, 11-4. Wofford pushed the lead to eight points, 14-6, following a Liguori ace. The Runnin' Bulldogs cut the gap to 15-11 as part of a 5-1 stretch, but Wofford held off the charge with a kill from Bidgood to keep put the lead at give points, 16-11. Wofford extended the lead to seven points, 20-13. Wofford went on to win the set 25-15 on a Liguori ace.
After Gardner-Webb took a 5-3 lead to open the fourth set, Wofford answered back with a 4-0 run highlighted by a Burnett ace. The Runnin' Bulldogs responded with back-to-back points to force a tie at seven. The Terriers retook the lead, 11-7, with a 4-0 run as Liguori notched three kills during the streak. Wofford held the four-point lead until a Styles ace pushed the lead out to five points, 14-9. A Wendy Burnett kill extended the lead to six points, 16-10. Gardner-Webb cut the lead to four points twice, 16-12 and 18-14, but each time the Terriers responded as they finished off the set and the match with a 25-17 win.
Wofford held a .312 team hitting percentage compared to a .204 team hitting percentage for Gardner-Webb. The Terriers had 55 kills on 128 swings with 15, errors, while the Runnin' Bulldogs had 50 kills on 142 swings and 21 errors.
Liguori added 16 digs to go along with her 17 kills as she earned a tie for the team lead with four double-doubles on the season. Burnett had four total blocks, two solo and two block assists, while Dorsey handed out 30 assists and ten digs. She is tied with Liguori with four double-doubles. Styles collected 14 digs. She now has 1,317 career digs, just two digs shy of four place all-time in the Wofford record books.
Erin Anderson paced the Runnin' Bulldogs with 16 kills. Cockrell had three solo blocks in the match.
Wofford takes the weekend off before returning to the court September 14 and September 15 at a tournament in Charleston Southern.