GREENSBORO, N.C. – Rebecca Rice (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road) earned 14 kills, setting a new career high, in a four-set loss (23-25, 25-21, 25-23, 26-24) to the Charlotte 49ers Tuesday evening in Fleming Gymnasium. UNCG falls to 2-2 on the season with Charlotte improves to 3-2 on the season.
“You have to give a lot of credit to Charlotte.” Head coach Corey Carlin said, “They’ve improved a lot in the last couple of seasons. We knew that they would present a tougher challenge than they have in the past. They were well coached and I think they took advantage of some opportunities and we didn’t. That’s something that if we want to be playing at the level we expect, we have to do a better job in point scoring opportunities and limiting our errors. That will be a focus point moving into this weekend and seeing if we can improve in that area.”
Ashley Muench (Hurdle Mills, N.C./Orange) matched Rice offensively, scoring 14 kills in the match. Muench recorded UNCG’s second double-double of the season, tallying 15 digs in the contest. Megan Moran (Smithsburg, Md./Smithsburg) tallied seven kills in the match with Allison Penner (Aurora, Neb./Aurora) and Lauren Robeck (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) earning five kills apiece.
Penner racked up 47 assists in the four-set match, and dug out eight opponent attacks. Christina Gregory (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) led the Spartan defense with 22 digs. UNCG totaled 83 digs in the contest, with Anna Romaniszyn (Port Orange, Fla./Spruce Creek) recording 16, and Grace Howell (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall-Heath) adding 10.
The first set was very evenly matched, with each team recording 19 points before Charlotte gained a slim advantage. The 49ers went up by three, on kills from Janell Sparks and Mackenzie Reaume, as well as a Sofie Perrens ace. The Spartans tied it up at 23-23 after taking advantage of two Charlotte attack errors and a Taylor Berg service error. The Spartans scored the next two points on kills from Robeck and Rice to take the first set.
Charlotte and UNCG were evenly matched in the second set. Each team tallied 20 points before Charlotte made a final run. The 49ers scored five of the last six points, getting kills from Sparks and Sydney Rowan, and taking advantage of a pair of UNCG attack errors to even the match at one.
Coming out of the intermission, the third set featured 13 ties and four lead changes. After being tied at 22 each, kills from Kaylyn Torain and Moran brought the lead to 23 all. Charlotte scored the last two points of the set, getting another kill from Sparks and the set ended with a Spartan attack error.
The final set was another hard fought match, with nine ties and four lead changes. UNCG led by as many as four before a Charlotte timeout halted the Spartan rally. The Spartans could not put Charlotte away as the 49ers continued the limit the Spartan lead to three points. After the 49ers called its last timeout trailing 21-19, Charlotte scored four of the next six points to tie the match at 23. Back-to-back kills from Sparks and Molly Shaw forced UNCG to call its final timeout, trailing 25-24. Coming out of the timeout, the Spartan attack was blocked by Shaw and Jocelyn Stoner to give Charlotte the fourth set, and the match.
UNCG is back in action this weekend as it hosts the Presbyterian Blue Hose in the first round of the Spartan-Aggie Invitational Friday night at 7 p.m.