GREENSBORO, N.C.– The UNC Greensboro volleyball team (4-4) battled back after dropping the first set to defeat Winthrop University (1-7) 3-1 (21-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-19) Friday night to start the Spartan-Aggie Invitational in Fleming Gymnasium.
“I’m proud that our kids battled back,” head coach Corey Carlin said. “That was a good demonstration of what we’re capable of doing.”
Senior setter Allison Penner recorded a double-double with a team-high 25 assists and 16 digs, while junior outside hitter Emily Keilen led the team with 13 kills and sophomore outside hitter Holly Behrends added 12 kills.
Senior libero Christina Gregory recorded a match-high 22 digs and four service aces, while sophomore setter Giana Rasmussen added 18 assists and seven digs. Sophomore outside hitter Maria Esch added 11 kills with a .281 hitting percentage and junior defensive specialist added 10 digs and junior middle blocker Lauren Robeck added eight kills with a .444 hitting percentage and five blocks.
UNCG scored 12 of the first 20 points to take a four-point lead, 12-8, but Winthrop scored 12 of the next 18 points to take a two-point lead, 20-18. After a kill from Esch to pull within a point, 20-19, the Eagles scored five of the final seven points to win the first set and to take a 1-0 match lead.
Just like the first set, the Spartans scored 12 of the first 20 points to take a four-point lead, 12-8, in the second frame but Winthrop scored eight of the next 10 points to take a two-point lead, 16-14. The Eagles scored six of the next 11 points to increase the lead to 23-20. Three consecutive points by the Spartans tied the set at 23 forcing a Winthrop timeout.
After the timeout, the Eagles scored a point for a 24-23 and with the Spartans facing set point, UNCG scored the final three points to win the set and to tie the match at one.
Winthrop scored six of the first nine points in the third stanza to take a three-point lead, 6-3, but the Spartans scored nine of the next 10 points, including eight consecutive points. After back-to-back Winthrop points to cut the lead to three points, 12-9, UNCG scored the next four points to increase the lead to seven points, 16-9.
With the Spartans holding an eight-point lead, 19-11, the Eagles scored six consecutive points to cut the lead to two points, 19-17, but UNCG scored six of the final 10 points to win the set by four points and to take a 2-1 match lead.
UNCG scored 14 of the first 21 points to take a seven-point lead, 14-7, and extended the lead after the Spartans scored nine of the next 13 points for a 12-point lead, 23-11. Winthrop scored eight consecutive points to cut the lead to four points, 23-19, but an Eagle service error and a Penner service ace gave the Spartans the set win and the match win.
The Eagles were led by Jace Kleffner with 15 kills, Siani Yamaguchi with 40 assists and added 15 digs for a double-double, Carlie Skelton with 18 digs and Pheobe Wu added 12 kills and 12 digs for a double-double.
The Spartans finish the tournament hosting Delaware State University at noon and North Carolina A&T State University at 7 p.m. Saturday.
-- UNCG –