GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG volleyball earned a decisive 3-0 (25-15, 25-9, 25-10) victory over the Delaware State Hornets Saturday night to earn its third-straight Spartan-Aggie Invitational inside Fleming Gymnasium. With the sweep, UNCG improves to 5-2 on the season, while Delaware State falls to 0-6.
“I’m really pleased with going 3-0 this weekend, especially at home in front of our tremendous fans.” Head coach Corey Carlin said, “Winning a tournament is never easy, but I’m particularly proud of the way we finished. It was a focus throughout the weekend to play clean volleyball. We needed to shore up a few things that looked a little too loose earlier in the preseason in preparation for our next challenge and starting conference play. I felt we took a good step forward in those aspects in both matches today.”
“I’m really proud of the people who haven’t seen a lot of playing time in the past, and our freshman as well.” Carlin continued, “We’ve challenged our team with new lineups the last couple of weekends and they’ve responded and really performed well. We’ve seen several people step up and perform well which will add to our quality of depth down the road. I’m excited to see how this team continues to evolve and grow and continue to take steps towards out goals.”
The Spartan offense had four players with seven or more kills in the victory. Rebecca Rice (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road) and Megan Moran (Smithsburg, Md./Smithsburg) led the team with eight kills each, while Katie Wagner (Knoxville, Tenn./Hardin Valley Academy) and Mikaela Weidmann (Roswell, Ga./Centennial) each notched seven.
Allison Penner (Aurora, Neb./Aurora) recorded a match-high 20 assists, with freshman Giana Rasmussen (Highland, Utah/Pleasant Grove) coming in to pick up 16. Four players collected five or more digs in the contest. Christina Gregory (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) led the team with eight, with Anna Romaniszyn (Port Orange, Fla./Spruce Creek) added seven. Grace Howell (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall-Heath) and Holly Behrends (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) each added five digs.
UNCG got the first point of the first set and never looked back. The Spartans took an 8-5 lead, and didn’t allow the Hornets to come closer than five points through the rest of the match. Delaware State cut the lead to six following a Sabina Szmajduch kill at 19-13 before UNCG scored seven of the next nine points to take the set 25-15. The Spartan offense hit for a .429 average in the set, making just two errors on 28 attempts.
The second set was all UNCG as the Spartans raced out to a 13-5 lead. UNCG used a 5-0 run to stretch the lead to 18-5. After back-to-back DSU points, UNCG scored three-straight to take the lead at 20-7. The Spartans used kills from Wager, Rice and Maria Esch (Williamsburg, Va./Jamestown) to close out the set.
The Blue and Gold continued its dominance in the third set, taking a 21-5 lead before Delaware State could slow the Spartans down. The teams exchanged points down the stretch as UNCG got kills from Emily Keilen (Austin, Texas/Round Rock) and Weidmann to finish the set and the match.
UNCG is back in action this Friday as it takes on the No. 3 Florida Gators in Gainesville, Fla. at 12:00 p.m. on the SEC Network +.