Volleyball Heads to Cullowhee for the Southern Conference Tournament
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Third-seeded UNCG volleyball hits the road this weekend as it heads to Cullowhee, N.C. for the Southern Conference Tournament. The Spartans are set to face the six-seeded Chattanooga Mocs at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night at the Ramsey Center. The tournament is hosted by Western Carolina.
The Spartans enter the tournament as the hottest team in the SoCon, winning their last seven matches. The Spartans have split with every team in the league this season and swept Mercer, Western Carolina and The Citadel. This is the fourth-straight season that the Spartans have finished the regular season with an 11-5 Southern Conference record.
Tomorrow night’s game with Chattanooga will be streamed live on the SoCon Digital Network, with live stats available via UNCGSpartans.com. Links for these services are on the UNCG volleyball schedule page.
This year’s senior class has won more SoCon matches than any other class before it, besting the 2016 class with one more win.
This is the longest winning streak for the Spartans this season and the longest since winning nine-straight during the 2015 season. That nine-match winning streak is the longest under head coach Corey Carlin.
Three Spartans received All-Southern Conference honors, led by the league’s Co-Player of the Year in Ashley Muench (Hurdle Mills, N.C./Orange). She leads the team with 3.57 kills per set and hits at a .248 average, the best in her career. She has tallied 29 service aces this season. A tribute to her versatility, with 26 digs Muench would become the sixth member of UNCG’s 1,000-dig, 1,000-kill club.
Allison Penner (Aurora, Neb./Aurora) earned her second First Team All-SoCon honors this season. She leads the league with a 10.46 assists per set average and adds 2.60 digs per set. She has recorded 14 double-doubles on the year and earned the SoCon’s Offensive Player of the Week award last week.
Holly Behrends (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) was selected to the SoCon All-Freshman team. The rookie is second on the team with 2.55 kills per set. Recently she has also become a two-way player, as she recorded a career-best 21 digs against The Citadel Saturday. She has recorded double-digit kills in 13 matches and has earned a trio of double-doubles.
Solidifying the Spartan backcourt is junior libero Christina Gregory (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy). Gregory leads the team with a 4.64 digs per set average, totaling 464 on the year. She leads the Spartan defense that limits opponents to a .185 hitting percentage, second best in the league and ranks 91st in the nation.
Chattanooga enters as the tournament’s six seed. The Mocs finished the regular season 13-17 and 6-10 in league play. They enter on a bit of a cold streak having dropped four-straight. During that run, Chattanooga has been competitive, losing a pair of five-set matches at Mercer and Samford before getting swept at ETSU and at home against Wofford in four sets.
Ally Ford leads the Moc offense with 4.01 kills per set in 101 sets played. She hits at a .182 average and helps out defensively with 2.54 digs per set. Miranda Elpers adds 276 kills to the Moc offense and has recorded 300 digs.
Lauren Greensboro facilitates the offense recording 8.72 assists per set. Madison Bergren adds 5.47 assists per set, playing in 45 sets. Megan Kaufman has proven to be one of the top defenders in the league, leading the conference with 5.25 digs per set. The Moc defense leads the league with 16.65 digs per set and limit opponents to a .192 hitting percentage.
With a win, UNCG would advance to face the winner of ETSU and the host Western Carolina Catamounts Saturday at 4:30 p.m. A loss would end UNCG’s 2017 season.