GREENSBORO, N.C. – Spartan volleyball tallied a 3-1 victory over cross-town rival North Carolina A&T Saturday afternoon inside Moore Gymnasium on the Campus of North Carolina A&T. UNCG took the first two sets before stumbling in the third and taking the match in the fourth set (25-16, 25-22, 21-25, 25-14). UNCG improves to 4-2 on the season, with North Carolina A&T falling to 3-3.
Senior Ashley Muench (Hurdle Mills, N.C./Orange) powered the Spartan offense. Muench earned a match-best 14 kills on 35 attacks. Holly Behrends (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) added eight kills with redshirt sophomore Rebecca Rice (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road) adding seven.
Allison Penner (Aurora, Neb./Aurora) collected a match-best 30 assists, with freshman Giana Rasmussen (Highland, Utah/Pleasant Grove) getting her first collegiate playing time, adding 11 assists. The Spartan defense recorded 78 digs, led by junior Christina Gregory’s (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) 18. Penner and Muench each recorded double-doubles, going for 13 and 14 digs, respectively. Senior Anna Romaniszyn (Port Orange, Fla./Spruce Creek) added 10 digs in the contest.
The first set was tied at seven before UNCG used a 7-1 run to take the lead at 14-9. After several back-and-forth rallies, UNCG scored three-straight, getting a pair of kills from Rice in the process to take a 20-13 lead. After an A&T service error put UNCG up 23-16, the Spartans benefitted from back-to-back Aggie attack errors to take the first set.
After going up 8-7 in the second set, UNCG continued to stave off a North Carolina A&T rally. The Spartans grew their lead to as many as eight at 23-15, following a 5-0 rally. With Emily Keilen (Austin Texas/Round Rock) serving, UNCG got kills from Katie Wagner (Knoxville, Tenn./Hardin Valley Academy), Muench and Megan Moran (Smithsburg, Md./Smithsburg) and a Keilen service ace. The Aggies fought back, scoring five of the next six to cut the lead to 24-22 Spartans, before a Muench kill finished the set.
UNCG stumbled in the third set, hitting .161 as a team. The Aggies led throughout the match, leading by as many as six at 22-16 following a Courteney Pitt kill. UNCG battled back, cutting the lead down to three after kills from Mikaela Weidmann (Roswell, Ga./Centennial) and Muench, as well as an A&T attack error. After an Aggie timeout, A&T scored two of the next three points to take the third set, 25-21.
The Spartans didn’t mess around in the fourth set, leading from start to finish. The Blue and Gold scored the first four points of the match and stretched its lead to 17-8 after a 7-0 run. With Romaniszyn serving, UNCG got kills a block from Weidmann, kills from Weidmann and Romaniszyn and a Romaniszyn ace. A&T cut the lead down to six after two Spartan attack errors, but could come no closer as UNCG closed the match out on kills fro Moran and Penner.
The Spartans are back in action this evening as they close the Spartan-Aggie Invitational against the Delaware State Hornets at 7 p.m. in Fleming Gym.