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GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG volleyball team suffered its first Southern Conference loss of the season Saturday evening as the Spartans suffered a 3-0 (23-25, 26-28, 18-25) defeat at Chattanooga. The Spartans return home to Fleming Gymnasium next weekend when it hosts Mercer Friday night and Samford Saturday.

“Tonight’s match was disappointing because we know Chattanooga is a good team and we felt prepared coming into the match,” head coach Corey Carlin said. “We talked about following up our great team performance last night with another quality performance tonight, but we can’t expect to win matches against good teams when we have so many unforced errors. That won’t get it done.”

Freshman Holly Behrends (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) and sophomore Emily Keilen (Austin, Texas/Round Rock) led the way offensively with nine kills apiece. Keilen paced the way with a .259 attack percentage while senior Ashley Muench (Hurdle Mills, N.C./Orange) was limited to just seven kills.

“The challenge still in front of us is to manage the flow of the game better, especially to have assertive communication when things aren’t clicking,” Carlin said. “That’s how good teams have consistent performances. We will learn from tonight, put good work in in the gym this week and put our focus towards another good challenge coming to us next weekend.”

Muench led the way defensively with a team-high 15 digs while junior Christina Gregory (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) added 13 digs in the loss. Junior setter Allison Penner (Aurora, Neb./Aurora) finished the game with 31 assist and 13 digs in the loss as the Spartans fall to 8-6 overall and 1-1 in SoCon play.

Ally Ford led Chattanooga (8-8, 1-1 SoCon) with a match-high 13 kills, while Emily Plumlee chipped in 11 kills for the Mocs. Plumlee led all attackers with a .478 attack percentage in the match as she did not make an attack error in 23 swings. Megan Kaufmann paced the Mocs with 23 digs while Lauren Greenspoon dished out 37 assists in the victory.

The Spartans started the match well, opening to an early 10-4 lead in set one. Behrends gave the Spartans an early spark with two kills during the run while Chattanooga committed four attack errors in the early going. UNCG maintained the six-point lead at 17-11, forcing a Mocs’ timeout. Chattanooga responded with a 9-2 run to take a 20-19 lead as Miranda Elpers tallied four kills during the stretch. After the Spartans tied the set at 23-23 with a block, Chattanooga scored the last two points of the second with Kills from Ford and Eden Murray to take it 25-23.

Set two again saw the Spartans hold a lead early at 14-11 when Keilen posted her third kills of the set. The teams traded points and stayed within two of each other until Chattanooga had a set point at 24-22 after a Plumlee kill. The Spartans rallied with three straight points as they forced the Mocs into three straight attack errors, setting up a set point of their own. Chattanooga answered back though, posting a 4-1 run to take set two 28-26 as the Spartans finished with back-to-back attack errors.

Chattanooga closed out the match with a 25-18 win in set three as the Mocs scored the first five of the set and opened to a 9-3 lead. The Spartans clawed their way back and pulled within two at 17-15 on an Annchara Montgomery (Indianapolis, Ind./Illinois State) kill. Chattanooga weathered the run and was able to close out the match with a 7-3 run, ending on a Plumlee kill.

-- UNCG --