Courtesy: Photo Courtesy of the Southern Conference

Volleyball Suffers Heartbreaking Five-Set Loss In SoCon Semifinals 11-20-2016

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG volleyball team was on the cusp of advancing to the Southern Conference Tournament finals Sunday night but the second-seeded Spartans fell just short falling to third-seeded Chattanooga 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 19-25, 15-17) at the Pete Hanna Center on the campus of Samford. The loss ends the Spartans’ season at 18-13 overall while Chattanooga advances to the SoCon Championship Monday night to face fourth-seeded Samford.

Redshirt sophomore Jasmine Jones (Stafford, Va./Brooke Point) led the Spartans with a match-high 19 kills as she converted at a .368 hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter Ashley Muench (Hurdle Mills, N.C./Orange) added 18 kills and 13 digs in the five-set loss.

Allison Penner (Aurora, Neb./Aurora) distributed the offense, earning 60 assists.  Penner added two kills and 14 digs. The Spartans as a team earned 97 digs in the four sets, led by Christina Gregory’s (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) 32 digs while Ronni Katarzynski (Winfield, Ill./West Chicago) added 22 digs. Miranda Elpers led Chattanooga with a team-high 19 kills, while Kristy Wieser chipped in 17 kills.

The back-and-forth contest all came down to the decisive fifth set. Chattanooga stormed to an 8-2 lead in the fifth set as Elpers had three straight kills and Wieser posted two kills. Jones slowed the Chattanooga momentum with a kill and the Spartans roared back with a 12-3 run to force match point at 14-11. Jones had three kills in the run while Muench had a pair and Brezwyn a pair including the 14th point, which put the Spartans one point from the final.

Chattanooga would not be denied though, posting a 6-1 run to close out the match. The Mocs went to Wieser three times during the run, including back-to-back kills after the game was tied at 15-15 to send Chattanooga on to the SoCon Tournament finals.

The seesaw affair saw the Spartans take set one by a 25-23 score. Chattanooga held a 15-11 lead after a 4-0 run culminated by a UNCG attack error. The Spartans answered back with a 6-1 run to take a 17-16 lead when Chinwendu Ngwadom (Raleigh, N.C./Chicago State) capped the spurt with a kill.

The teams again were tied at 21-21 before UNCG scored two straight, including a service ace by Muench. The Spartans were able to close out the first set with a kill from Jessica Brezwyn (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South). Chattanooga came back and evened the match with a 25-19 win in set two, leading from the beginning and holding off a late UNCG charge.

The Spartans took a 2-1 lead with a 25-22 victory in set three. Muench was the catalyst in set three as she tallied seven kills in the set alone, hitting at a .400 clip. She raced the Spartans out to a 17-10 lead with four straight kills and the Spartans never looked back to take the lead in the match.

Chattanooga responded back in set four taking home a 25-19 edge. This time the Mocs built a sizable lead at 17-10 as Eden Murray took control with four kills and a .578 hitting percentage. The Spartans battled back to pull within five at 24-19 but Chattanooga forced a decisive fifth set on a kill by Elpers.

-- UNCG --



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