Volleyball Falls At Georgia Southern In Five Sets
STATESBORO, Ga. – The UNCG volleyball team rallied on two separate occasions Saturday afternoon, but Georgia Southern was able to pull away late in set five and escape with a 3-2 (25-18, 20-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-10) Southern Conference victory inside Hanner Fieldhouse. The Spartans fall to 8-7 overall and 1-1 in league play while the Eagles improve to 14-2 and 2-0.
“We finally played well in this arena so I am happy with our effort, but it’s disappointing that we continue to be our own worst enemy,” head coach Patrick Nicholas said. “We need to find a way to come out on top against the best teams in our league. The women should start believing in themselves as a unit because we have the talent to compete every time out.”
The Blue and Gold out-hit GSU .183-.170 in the match, but the Eagles had the better of it in the final stanza, firing at a .375 clip and holding UNCG to .158. The Spartans also out-dug Georgia Southern 88-75 and tallied one more ace (6-5) while the Eagles held the upper hand at the net with 10 blocks and limited UNCG to seven.
Senior middle hitter Morgan Freeman (Virginia Beach, Va./University of Connecticut) capped off a fine weekend – hitting .533 in the match while racking up a match-high 17 kills to go along with five blocks and four digs.
Defensively, senior outside hitter Karrian Chambers (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated) reached a career high with 27 digs as she also recorded nine kills and a block. Sophomore libero Katherine Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) led all players as she racked up 28 for the second-consecutive match.
Georgia Southern established the lead early, jumping on top 6-3 after a service ace by Meghan Morillo. Another ace for the home side extended the Eagle advantage to 12-5. GSU led by as much as 17-9 before the Spartans ripped off a 7-3 run capped by a block to pull to within 20-16. The Eagles would recover, out-scoring UNCG 5-2 the rest of the way to claim the first frame 25-18.
A kill by Chambers gave the Blue and Gold a 5-3 lead and the Spartans did not relent as a kill by freshman outside hitter Jessica Brezwyn (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South) stretched the cushion to 11-7 – forcing a Georgia Southern timeout. UNCG went ahead by as much as 15-8 before the Eagles answered with four-straight scores to draw within three. The Spartans would take a 21-15 lead on a GSU attacking error, but Georgia Southern tried to rally once more. A block put the score at 21-18, but UNCG held on and out-scored the Eagles 4-2 the rest of the way - winning the second stanza 25-20.
Georgia Southern raced out to a 6-2 lead in the third set, but the Spartans would rally within 10-8 before a kill by junior middle hitter Kelsey Sidney (Chesterfield, Mo./Marquette HS) made the score 11-10 in favor of the home team. The Eagles looked to run away with the stanza late, but after GSU built a 23-17 advantage, UNCG put together a stirring rally in which it scored six-straight to tie the score. Georgia Southern would barely recover, managing to get a pair of kills to steal the frame.
The tables were turned in the fourth set as it was the Spartans who built a sizable lead. A pair of consecutive Eagle attacking errors made the score 15-8 in favor of UNCG. GSU would attempt an answer, cutting the Spartan cushion to 21-18 after a block, but the Blue and Gold settled down and won it 25-20 after a block ended it.
The teams battled to a 7-7 deadlock before an attacking error by senior middle hitter Olivia Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) gave Georgia Southern the lead at the switch. The Eagles took advantage of the miscue and built an 11-8 lead which they would not relinquish as the home team closed the match out with a 15-10 victory.
UNCG continues league play at home Wednesday, Oct. 2, welcoming Elon to Fleming Gymnasium. First serve for the match is set for 7 p.m.