DAVIDSON, N.C. – It was déjà vu for the UNCG volleyball team Saturday as Davidson completed a comeback from a 2-1 deficit for the second-straight season at Belk Arena to post a 3-2 (25-23, 18-25, 19-25, 25-10, 15-13) Southern Conference victory. The setback leaves the Spartans at 9-8 overall and 2-2 in league play while the Wildcats improve to 11-6 and 2-2.
“We did a lot of work this week with the setters and I was happy with their play-calling and decision making today,” head coach Patrick Nicholas said. “We bounced back well after the first set but we started making so many unforced errors in the late sets. We will continue working on that. I was really disappointed with our approach in the fourth set. You have to respect the game and your opponent through the duration of every match.”
Senior outside hitter Karrian Chambers (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated) paced the offense with 16 kills and added 14 digs to complete her fifth double-double of the season. Freshman outside hitter Sydney Darden (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) was next with 13 kills while junior middle hitter Vicky Harley (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) and senior middle hitter Olivia Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) chipped in with 10 apiece.
Defensively, sophomore libero Katherine Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) led all players with 22 digs while senior libero Kellie Orewiler (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Comprehensive) contributed 16 of her own. Senior middle hitter Morgan Freeman (Virginia Beach, Va./University of Connecticut) was active at the net as she tallied seven blocks – many of the solo variety – while Chambers ended up with six and Harley checked in with five.
A .500 showing in the fourth stanza helped Davidson earn the overall advantage in hitting percentage at .229 – .213 while most every other category favored UNCG. The Spartans racked up more kills (64-61), assists (58-56), digs (78-68) and blocks (14.0-5.0) while the teams finished even in aces at three each. The 14 total blocks were a season high for the Blue and Gold.
The Wildcats led for much of the first set as UNCG was forced to take a timeout trailing 18-13. The Spartans cut into the lead a bit as a kill by Freeman made the score 20-17, but Davidson netted the next two points to move ahead by five. Down 24-21, the Blue and Gold scored two-straight points to draw within 24-23 thanks to a couple of errors by the home side. However, Caroline Brown ended the set with a kill and gave it to the Wildcats 25-23.
The second stanza was quite competitive early as the teams played all the way to a 17-17 deadlock without much separation. UNCG finally pulled ahead with three-straight points as a kill by Darden made it 20-17. The Spartans allowed Davidson just one more point in the frame, tying the match with a 25-18 victory.
It was all UNCG early in the third set as the Blue and Gold rolled up a 16-9 lead. A 5-2 run allowed the Wildcats to pull within 18-14, but the Spartans stopped the run with a kill and block by redshirt sophomore middle hitter Julia Westerbur (College Station, Texas/SMU). UNCG was able to match the home team point for point the rest of the way, snagging a 2-1 match lead with the 25-19 win.
Davidson came out desperate to extend the match in the fourth set and the Wildcats did just that. The Spartans were never in the set as Davidson took it 25-10.
It was another tight beginning to set five as Davidson pulled ahead 8-7 after an attacking error by Harley. UNCG rallied to tie the score at 10 after an error by Brown, but the Wildcats took four of the next six points to reach match point. A service error by Sarah Roberts kept the Blue and Gold alive for one more point, but Hannah Rau shut the door with a kill to give Davidson the match.
The Spartans return to Fleming Gymnasium next weekend for their Fight Like a Spartan matches. UNCG will face Georgia Southern Friday before entertaining The Citadel Saturday. Both contests will begin at 7 p.m.