GREENSBORO, N.C. – In the first of two meetings this season, the UNCG volleyball team picked up a 3-1 (25-22, 25-20, 17-25, 25-19) victory over local Southern Conference Elon Wednesday night inside Fleming Gymnasium.
The Spartans (9-7, 2-1 SoCon) had the better of things on the stat sheet, out-hitting the Phoenix (9-9, 1-2) .246 to .180 while also racking up more kills (58-47), assists (51-43), aces (4-3) and digs (71-54). Elon only held the upper hand in blocking, tallying seven as compared to four for UNCG. After allowing the Phoenix to hit .316 in the first stanza, the Spartans limited the visitors to respective .091, .152 and .152 marks the rest of the way. UNCG has out-hit each of its first three league opponents and held all of them to .180 or less showings.
The Blue and Gold put five players in double figures offensively in the match, led by senior middle hitter Olivia Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) who recorded 13 kills. Senior middle hitter Morgan Freeman (Virginia Beach, Va./University of Connecticut) and junior middle hitter Vicky Harley (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) were next with 11 each while senior outside hitter Karrian Chambers (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated) and freshman outside hitter Sydney Darden (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) checked in with 10 apiece.
Chambers delivered her fourth double-double of the season as she added 11 digs to her 10 kills. She now needs just 36 kills to become the ninth player in program history to reach 1,000 for a career.
Defensively, sophomore libero Katherine Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) – who entered the match second in the SoCon in digs per set in league contests – racked up 28 for the third-straight match. She also contributed four assists. Also reaching double figures was senior libero Kellie Orewiler (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Comprehensive) who ended up with 11.
Elon was fast out of the gates, scoring four of the first five points. The Spartans settled down as a kill by Harley capped a 3-0 spurt for UNCG that tied the score. The Phoenix went on the next run, jumping out to a 10-5 advantage after an attacking error by Humphries. With the visitors leading 15-10, the Blue and Gold dug down and answered with a 7-3 run which sliced the Phoenix lead to just one at 18-17. Elon looked to pull away as a service ace by Kris Harris made the score 20-17, but the Spartans came up with five-straight points, riding the serving of Santiago to pull ahead 22-20. UNCG would finish off the Phoenix as a kill by Freeman ended the stanza at 25-22.
The second frame was tight early on as the teams played to an 11-11 deadlock. An ace by freshman setter Sara Hohman (Zionsville, Ind./Cathedral) and a kill by Darden afforded the Spartans a 13-11 cushion, but Elon answered by scoring five of the next eight points to draw even at 16. With the score knotted at 19 each, a kill by Freeman and a Phoenix attacking error made it 21-19 and prompted an Elon timeout. Cali Estes pulled the visitors within 21-20 with a kill, but UNCG was too much in the end – picking up a pair of kills and benefitting from two consecutive errors by Megan Gravely to grab the last four points of the set.
Looking to stay in the match, Elon raced out to a 9-4 advantage and would extend the lead to 13-5. The Spartans tried to stop the Phoenix momentum by calling a pair of timeouts, but it would do no good. UNCG made things interesting, scoring six-straight points after trailing 24-11, but Elon ended the stanza with a kill by Gravely.
The Phoenix called an early timeout in set four as the Blue and Gold scored five of the first six points. It proved effective as Elon countered with a 7-3 run to move ahead 8-6. A kill by Darden and an error by Harris tied the score at eight before UNCG put together a modest 5-1 run to steal the momentum back. The squads traded points from and the Phoenix would eventually grab a quick advantage at 16-15 after an error by Humphries. A kill by Darden tied the score once more at 19 apiece. As it turns out, Elon would not score again as three kills and a block helped the Blue and Gold end the match on a 6-0 run.
UNCG will make the short trip to Davidson Saturday to continue its league schedule. First serve at Belk Arena is slated for 2 p.m.
Spartans All Access users
returning customers, please login here.