GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG volleyball tallied a clean 3-0 sweep (25-15, 25-22, 25-21) over the Morgan State Bears Saturday afternoon inside Fleming Gymnasium. The Spartans improve to 2-0 on the young season, while Morgan State is now 0-2. Eight players earned at least three kills in the match, and three players recorded double-digit digs, led by Christina Gregory’s (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) 14.
“Its really nice any time you can go 2-0, especially in front of your home fans.” Head coach Corey Carlin said, “We had another opportunity today to have multiple players contribute which is always good. Anytime we can increase their court awareness and experience here in the preseason, it will pay dividends down the road. Morgan State did a really good job of challenging us. They’re a little unorthodox and we knew that coming in, but having a steady level of play on our side of the net was our focus. At times that was pressured, but overall our kids responded well. We’re definitely looking forward to the next challenge tonight against Wake Forest.”
Redshirt Freshman Megan Moran (Smithsburg, Md./Smithsburg) led the Spartan offense with a career-best seven kills. Annchara Montgomery (Indianapolis, Ind./Illinois State), Allison Penner (Aurora, Neb./Aurora), Ashley Muench (Hurdle Mills, N.C./Orange), Maria Esch (Williamsburg, Va./Jamestown), Emily Keilen (Austin, Texas/Round Rock), Rebecca Rice (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road) and Holly Behrends (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) tallied over three kills each.
Penner distributed 32 of UNCG’s 39 assists in the sweep and picked up 11 digs. Gregory led the defense with 14 digs and Grace Howell (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall-Heath) picked up 12 digs and a pair of assists in the victory.
In the first set, UNCG used a Penner service ace and a block assist from Muench and Montgomery to take a seven-point lead at 16-9. Morgan State came within five points after a Roi Wallace kill and a Spartan attack error. But UNCG scored five of the next six points with kills from Katie Wagner (Knoxville, Tenn./Hardin Valley Academy), Muench, Rice and Moran to take a 22-13 lead. After exchanging points, kills from Rice, Muench and Penner closed out the first set, at 25-15, Spartans.
The second set was played tighter, with neither team earning more than a six point lead. The Spartans earned the set’s largest lead at 22-16 following a Mikaela Weidmann (Roswell, Ga./Centennial) service ace. The Bears came back and scored five of the next six points to cut the lead to 23-21 after a UNCG attack error. The Blue and Gold took advantage of two Morgan State service errors to earn the second set victory.
The final set was tied 17-17 before UNCG made its run. With Howell serving, the Spartans went on a 6-0 run, getting kills from Esch, Penner and Moran in the process. Howell helped herself by connecting on her first service ace of the season in the run. Morgan State cut the lead down to 23-21 before Esch connected on her fifth kill to force match point. Penner closed the match with a solo block of Natashia Barker to give UNCG the win.
Spartan volleyball is back in action Saturday night as it attempts to break the Fleming Gymnasium attendance record against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at 7:30 p.m.