Volleyball Sweeps Sacramento State To Open 2014 Campaign
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The UNCG volleyball team began its season on a positive note Friday afternoon, sweeping Sacramento State (33-31, 25-14, 25-18) in its first match of the Charlotte Invitational at Halton Arena.
The win is the first for head coach Corey Carlin at UNCG and he becomes the first head coach in program history to win his or her coaching debut. The Spartans also captured their season opener for the third-straight season.
Defense was a big key to victory for the Blue and Gold as UNCG racked up 64 digs in the three sets – an average of 21.33 per set. Junior libero Katherine Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) accounted for 20 of those digs while freshman outside hitter Anna Romaniszyn (Port Orange, Fla./Spruce Creek) turned in 16 in her collegiate debut.
Romaniszyn was one of three Spartans to make their first start in a UNCG uniform with junior defensive specialist Leah Wells (Statesville, N.C./Catawba Valley CC) and freshman outside hitter Ashley Muench (Hurdle Mills, N.C./Orange) the other two.
Offensively, senior middle hitter Kelsey Sidney (Chesterfield, Mo./Marquette HS) led the way with 13 kills on 27 swings. She made just three errors to end up with a .370 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside hitter Jessica Brezwyn (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South) also reached double figures with 12 kills of her own. She hit .278 with just two errors in 36 attempts. Redshirt junior middle hitter Julia Westerbur (College Station, Texas/SMU) also hit for a high percentage as she checked in at .412 (9k/2e/17ta).
Sophomore setter Sara Hohman (Zionsville, Ind./Cathedral) enjoyed a solid season opener as she dished out 40 assists and tallied nine digs falling just short of a double-double. She also added two aces.
As a team, UNCG out-hit the Hornets .236 to .116 and recorded more aces (7-2), kills (45-34) and digs (64-56). The Spartans also made just 16 errors on 123 attempts.
The first set started out tightly as a kill by Sidney gave the Spartans an early 4-2 edge. A kill by senior middle hitter Vicky Harley (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) kept the Blue and Gold ahead 14-12 later in the set before a 4-2 run afforded UNCG an 18-14 advantage and forced a Sacramento State timeout. The Spartans worked the lead all the way up to 21-16 and had set point at 24-22 after an ace by Wells. The Hornets were able to fight back, however, and knot the score at 24.
The teams fought back and forth all the way to a 30-30 deadlock before UNCG pulled away by scoring three of the final four points. A big kill by Westerbur off a slide sealed the set for the Blue and Gold.
Both squads hit poorly in the frame with the Hornets firing at a .150 clip and the Spartans at .130. Westerbur tallied six kills in the set to lead the offense while Santiago picked up seven digs.
UNCG raced out to an 8-2 lead in the second set and kept the pressure on its opposition. Sacramento State called timeouts with the Spartans leading 14-8 and 20-11 but the Blue and Gold cruised by a 25-14 margin to move two sets ahead in the match.
The Hornets came out in the third set looking to avoid the sweep and took an early 7-5 lead after an attacking error by Muench. A kill by Brezwyn forged a tie at 10 later in the frame before a 7-4 run, capped by another Brezwyn kill, allowed UNCG to assume a 17-14 edge. A block pulled Sacramento State within 17-16, but the Spartans put the match away with a 5-0 run that gave them an insurmountable lead. The Blue and Gold went on to take the third set 25-18.
UNCG returns to the court this evening, taking on host Charlotte at 7:30 p.m.