Murray State Downs Volleyball In Five Sets
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The opening of the 2013 Spartan-Aggie Invitational proved frustrating for the UNCG volleyball team Friday night as Murray State came away with a 3-2 (25-15, 11-25, 19-25, 25-22, 15-13) victory inside Fleming Gymnasium. The match served as the first home contest of the year for the Spartans.
UNCG actually dominated the stat sheet in the match, but hit just .000 in the fifth set with seven kills and seven errors on 31 attempts. The Blue and Gold out-hit the Racers .228-.176 and tallied more kills (71-54), assists (68-51), aces (8-4), digs (103-96) and blocks (7.0-6.0).
Individually, senior outside hitter Karrian Chambers (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated) put forth an electrifying performance – racking up 21 kills on 43 attempts with just four errors to finish with a .395 hitting mark. Senior middle hitter Olivia Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) and freshman outside hitter Sydney Darden (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) also reached double figures in kills with 14 and 13 respectively. Darden hit for percentage, recording just two errors on 36 swings to end up at .306.
On the defensive side, sophomore libero Katherine Santiago tallied a career-high 33 digs to lead five players in double figures. Senior libero Kellie Orewiler (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Comprehensive) was next with 16 while freshman outside hitter Jessica Brezwyn (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South), freshman setter Sara Hohman (Zionsville, Ind./Cathedral) and Humphries chipped in with 15, 10 and 10 respectively.
Hohman qualified for her first career double-double as she also dished out 53 assists and Humphries earned her second double-double of the season with her 14 kills and 10 digs. Humphries also contributed three aces and four blocks.
The Spartans struggled mightily in the first set, allowing Murray State to jump out to an 8-1 lead. The frame was never really in doubt as the Racers put away UNCG by a 25-15 score.
The second stanza proved to be a mirror image of the first. The visitors did score the first three points of the set, but the Blue and Gold recovered to go on a huge 17-4 run which found UNCG leading by ten points. The Spartans did not let up the rest of the way as a block sealed a 25-11 win for the home team and evened the match.
The teams ended up tied at four apiece early in the third set, but an attacking error by the Racers capped an 8-4 run for UNCG and Murray State called timeout trailing 12-8. The Racers stayed within shouting distance as a kill by Taylor Olden made the score 21-17 in favor of the Spartans. However, UNCG allowed Murray State just two more points in the set and another Spartan block ended it 25-19.
In the fourth set, the Racers went on top 9-6 on a kill by Alyssa Lelm before a kill by Humphries capped a 6-3 run which tied the set. Murray State would be the aggressor over the next few points, building a 17-14 lead before UNCG made a push to pull within 20-19. A service error by Hohman on the next play took all the momentum away from the Spartans however, and the Racers closed it out 25-22.
Murray State looked like it was going to run away with the deciding frame, establishing an 8-3 lead. However, UNCG began to chip away. Trailing 11-5, the Spartans forced three attacking errors and put down an ace to draw within 11-9. A kill by Scottie Ingram made it 12-9 before Chambers tallied consecutive kills. A kill by Lelm pushed the score to 13-11, but the Blue and Gold rallied again, using a kill by Chambers and a block to tie the score at 13. Chambers nearly gave UNCG match point, but her attack landed just millimeters out of bounds on the next play and Humphries followed with an error of her own to allow Murray State to escape with the win.
The Blue and Gold will play two matches Saturday, traveling to North Carolina A&T for an 11 a.m. contest before returning to Fleming Gymnasium at 7 p.m. to take on Alabama State.
Follow the fastest game on campus all season long by logging on to www.uncgspartans.com and following the Spartans’ official Twitter feeds @uncgsports/@uncgvb.