Volleyball Drops 3-1 Decision To High Point
GREENSBORO, N.C. – In a match that saw both sides score at least 20 points in all four sets, High Point prevailed and left Fleming Gymnasium 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-22) winners over the UNCG volleyball team Wednesday night. The Spartans end non-conference play with a 7-6 record while the Panthers improve to 6-9 overall.
Arguably, the difference in the match was High Point’s ability to terminate the ball as they tallied 61 kills to UNCG’s 50. The Panthers also out-dug the Spartans 71-64 and had a slight edge in total team blocks (9.0-8.0).
Freshman outside hitter Sydney Darden (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) led the Blue and Gold with 12 kills on 22 attempts and hit .409 in the match as she made only three errors. Senior middle hitter Olivia Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) was next in line with nine kills on 28 swings. She would hit .214 for the contest. Defensively, sophomore libero Katherine Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) paced the squad with 18 digs while senior libero Kellie Orewiler (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Comprehensive) and senior outside hitter Karrian Chambers (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated) also reached double digits with 12 and 11 respectively.
The first set was tied at five early before the Spartans scored four-straight points – including two aces by Orewiler – to establish a 9-5 cushion. When the lead reached 16-12, High Point was forced to call timeout. After a kill by junior setter Emily McMurtrey (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Westminster Academy) put UNCG ahead 19-15, the Panthers utilized their second timeout. The Spartans reached set point at 24-21, but two-straight kills pulled the visitors to within one at 24-23. After a UNCG timeout, senior middle hitter Morgan Freeman (Virginia Beach, Va./University of Connecticut) ended the frame with a kill to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead in the match.
After High Point scored the first two points of the second stanza, UNCG responded with a pair of their own to knot the score. A kill by Darden capped an 8-5 run which put the Spartans in front 10-7. The Panthers answered with four consecutive scores to take the lead, but the Blue and Gold netted nine of the next 14 points to build a 19-16 edge. UNCG would lead 20-17 on a kill by junior middle hitter Kelsey Sidney (Chesterfield, Mo./Marquette HS), but things went awry from there as High Point went on a 6-1 run to put itself on the verge of taking the set. The Spartans drew to within 23-22 on an attacking error by Kristin Heldt, but a ball-handling error by McMurtrey and a kill by Chelsea Davis allowed the Panthers to win the frame and tie the match.
High Point went on the aggressive to begin the third stanza as the Panthers raced out to a 12-5 advantage. However, an 8-4 run made things interesting and prompted HPU to call for timeout. The respite proved ineffective for the home side as two-straight kills made the score 18-13 in favor of the Panthers. The Blue and Gold tried to muster a rally, pulling to within 20-18 on a kill by sophomore outside hitter Lauren Betlach (Phoenix, Ariz./Seton Catholic Prep School), but High Point settled down and was able to capture the set by a 25-21 scoreline.
The fourth frame turned out to be close in the beginning as the squad forged a 3-3 deadlock before the Panthers took a 10-7 lead on a kill from Chelsea Blanford. UNCG would tie the score at 10 after a High Point attacking error, but the Panthers pulled back in front 16-13 after an ace by Davis. That would be enough for High Point to hold off the Spartans as the Panthers won set four 25-22.
With its non-conference schedule complete, UNCG hits the road to start Southern Conference play. The Spartans will face The Citadel Friday, Sept. 27 in Charleston, S.C. before heading south to battle Georgia Southern the next day at 2 p.m.