Nicholas Earns 200th Career Victory In Volleyball’s Sweep Of N.C. A&T
GREENSBORO, N.C. – After a tough loss to Murray State Friday evening to open the Spartan-Aggie Invitational, the UNCG volleyball team rebounded Saturday morning to post a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-14) victory over crosstown neighbor North Carolina A&T at the Aggies’ Moore Gymnasium. The triumph served as the 200th victory of UNCG head coach Patrick Nicholas’ coaching career.
“I feel fortunate to have had a nice coaching career so far with great players around me,” Nicholas said. “I would definitely like to add a few more to that total before it is all said and done.”
The Spartans rebounded nicely from last night’s setback, hitting .356 as a team with 36 kills and only 10 errors. UNCG also racked up nine aces and six total blocks while holding the Aggies to a .094 hitting mark and forcing the hosts into 19 miscues. Defensively, the Blue and Gold held the upper hand with 33 digs as compared to A&T’s 22.
UNCG’s ability to side out was key in the first and third sets as the Spartans were over 70 percent on sideout chances while limiting the Aggies’ to a 38-percent sideout performance in the third stanza.
Junior middle hitter Vicky Harley (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) led the offensive charge with a team-high eight kills. She hit .583 in the match, making just one error on 12 swings. Senior middle Olivia Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) racked up seven kills and also hit for a high percentage with just two errors on 12 attempts to finish at .417. Also putting forth a solid effort was senior middle hitter Morgan Freeman (Virginia Beach, Va./University of Connecticut) as she hit .385 (6k/1e/15ta) while adding four aces and two blocks.
The Spartan liberos took care of the defensive work for the most part as senior Kellie Orewiler (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Comprehensive) and sophomore Katherine Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) both tallied 10 digs.
All four of UNCG’s freshmen were able to experience playing time in the contest and 13 of the 14 players on the roster entered the match at some point. Freshman outside hitter Jessica Brezwyn (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South) received 11 attempts and made good on them as she fired at a .364 clip with five kills against just one error. Classmate and outside hitter Sydney Darden (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) also played well offensively as she compiled a .333 hitting mark (5k/2e/9ta).
The Blue and Gold got off to a slow start in the match as A&T built a 3-1 lead in the first set. A kill by Freeman would tie the set at four points apiece before a Spartan attack error allowed the Aggies to move in front 9-5. UNCG would fight back, however, going on an 8-3 run to take a 13-12 advantage when Freeman capped the run with another kill.
The Spartans kept the pressure on, eventually pulling in front 21-17 on an attack error by Brooke Stamnes. UNCG would use that momentum to shut the home side down the rest of the frame, winning it 25-21.
The second set turned early in favor of A&T as the Aggies built a 7-3 advantage after an attacking error by Harley. A kill by Humphries capped a quick 3-0 run for the Spartans which pulled them to within 7-6, but A&T recovered and pulled out to a 14-11 lead when Aleena McDaniel put down a kill.
UNCG dug down and rallied with a 5-2 run to tie the set at 16 before taking the lead at 17-16 on an ace by Darden. The Blue and Gold would not trail again in the frame, reaching set point at 24-19 and eventually putting it away by a 25-21 score.
There would be no slow start for the Spartans in the third set as they dominated the stanza from the outset and put the Aggies on their heels. Consecutive aces by Freeman put UNCG ahead 9-1 and a kill by Harley pushed the lead out even further at 14-3. The Spartans did not let up and completed the sweep with a 25-14 win in the frame.
UNCG will play Alabama State back at Fleming Gymnasium Saturday evening to close out the Spartan-Aggie Invitational. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
Follow the fastest game on campus all season long by logging on to www.uncgspartans.com and following the Spartans’ official Twitter feeds @uncgsports/@uncgvb. In-game updates are also available via @uncgscores.