Volleyball Rolls Past George Mason In Spiketacular Opener
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG volleyball team set the tone early against George Mason Friday night, sweeping the Patriots (25-16, 25-19, 25-20) to begin the Spartan Spiketacular inside Fleming Gymnasium. In the first match of the tournament, TCU won a 3-0 (25-9, 25-16, 25-21) contest against North Carolina Central.
The Spartans (6-4) hit .321 in the match – their second-high mark of the season – while holding the Patriots to a .153 showing. UNCG racked up 51 kills, 47 assists and 49 digs in dominating the stat sheet. George Mason got the better of the blocking, 7.0-4.0, but it was not enough to keep up with the Blue and Gold’s high-powered attack. In terms of sideout percentage, UNCG was able to sideout on 64 percent of its chances and limited the visitors to just 47 percent.
Senior outside hitter Karrian Chambers (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated) picked up her second double-double of the season, tallying 14 kills and 11 digs while also making just four errors to hit .346 for the match. Joining Chambers in double figures offensively was senior middle hitter Olivia Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) who led all players with 14 kills. She fell just short of her fourth double-double of the season, adding nine digs to her kill output.
Running the offense was junior setter Emily McMurtrey (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Westminster Academy) as she recorded 38 assists to go along with five digs. She also picked up two kills on three attempts without making an error. Additionally, sophomore libero Katherine Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) paced the defensive effort with a match-high 12 digs.
The first set proved to be tight early on as neither team had more than a one-point advantage. With the score knotted at 10, the Spartans netted two-straight points to edge out to a 12-10 lead. A kill by junior middle hitter Morgan Freeman (Virginia Beach, Va./University of Connecticut) then made it a 14-11 score, forcing George Mason to call for timeout.
UNCG kept the pressure on and scored five of the next eight points to put the set out of reach. Ahead 19-14, the Blue and Gold kept the visitors at an arm’s length and consecutive kills by Humphries ended the stanza with a 25-16 scoreline.
The Patriots were the first to 10 points in the second frame, leading 10-8 after a kill from Morghan Martin. The Spartans pushed back, scoring four-straight points to establish a two-point cushion of their own. GMU took a timeout trailing UNCG 15-13, but a devastating 7-3 run – capped off by a bad set by Tori Price – saw UNCG take an insurmountable 22-16 advantage. George Mason pulled to within 22-19, but the Spartans posted the final three points of the stanza to take it 25-19.
After a kill and an ace by Chambers opened the scoring in the third set, UNCG was able to extend its lead to 7-3 on an attack error by Martin. The Patriots were able to rally, eventually tying the score at 10 thanks to a block. A kill by Meredith Bush gave GMU a slight 11-10 advantage, but the Spartans went on an 8-4 run which put them in front 18-15 and forced a Patriot timeout. George Mason tried to rally on a number of occasions, but UNCG did not budge. After a kill by junior middle hitter Kelsey Sidney (Chesterfield, Mo./Marquette HS) gave the Blue and Gold set point at 24-19, she ended the match two points later with a thunderous kill into the middle of the Patriot defense.
The Spartan Spiketacular will conclude with four matches Saturday, beginning with George Mason taking on TCU at 11 a.m. UNCG will face NC Central at 1 p.m. before battling the Patriots at 5 p.m. The Spartans will then challenge the Horned Frogs in the tournament finale at 7 p.m.