GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG volleyball team rebounded from a tough loss to Georgia Southern last night by taking care of The Citadel 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-18) Saturday evening inside Fleming Gymnasium. With the victory, the Spartans improve to 10-9 overall and 3-3 in Southern Conference play while the Bulldogs drop to 4-17 and 0-6.
“I am proud of the team tonight for playing a focused match all the way through,” head coach Patrick Nicholas said. “The conference has so much parity this season and it is anyone’s to take. Therefore, we have to continue working on being mentally tough as we have some important matches ahead.”
For the second time this season, the Blue and Gold held an opponent to a negative hitting percentage as The Citadel fired at a -.030 clip with just 26 kills. The Bulldogs made 29 errors and racked up only 25 assists. Conversely, the Spartans hit .274 with 37 kills on 84 attempts with just 14 errors. UNCG also held the upper hand defensively, out-digging the visitors 40-27 and out-blocking them 10.5-3.0.
Ise d’Angelo and Lauren Hurt paced the Bulldog attack with seven kills each while a trio of Citadel players recorded six digs.
Senior outside hitter Karrian Chambers (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated) posted match highs in kills (11) and digs (13) for her team-leading sixth double-double of the season. She also hit .261 in the match and chipped in with two blocks. A pair of middle hitters, junior Vicky Harley (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) and senior Morgan Freeman (Virginia Beach, Va./University of Connecticut) manned the net for UNCG and ended up with six blocks apiece.
With the 11 kills, Chambers now needs just four to become the ninth player in program history to reach 1,000 for her career.
A kill by Freeman and an offensive miscue by Bailey Kernodle afforded UNCG a quick 2-0 lead in the first set before The Citadel tied it up with a block and a Chambers attacking error. The Spartans finally established some breathing room at 8-5 after a kill by senior middle hitter Olivia Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) and the Blue and Gold extended the advantage to 15-7 thanks to a 7-2 run. The Bulldogs would get within 20-17 late in the frame, but UNCG allowed them to score just one more point as an attacking error by Katie Briggs ended it at 25-18.
The second stanza began somewhat competitively with the Blue and Gold holding a 7-5 lead after a Spartan block. However, The Citadel lost its way from there and let a 9-9 deadlock turn into a 16-10 UNCG lead thanks to a bevy of offensive miscues. The Spartans took advantage and dominated the rest of the way, scoring nine of the last 10 points to win the set 25-11 and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The Bulldogs showed some fight in the third frame, building a 4-1 lead after freshman outside hitter Jessica Brezwyn (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South) hit into the Bulldog block. UNCG rallied to tie the score at seven before the teams traded points the next eight rallies. With the stanza knotted at 11, the Spartans went on a 3-1 run to move ahead by two points. The Citadel notched two-straight scores to pull even at 14.
UNCG bore down and delivered the knockout punch with a 4-0 run in which the Bulldogs made three errors and Brezwyn notched a kill. With the score at 18-14, the Spartans ended the match by out-scoring The Citadel 7-4 the rest of the way.
The Blue and Gold returns to action next weekend, traveling to Chattanooga and Samford for a pair of league matches. The Spartans will take on the Mocs Friday (6 p.m.) before capping the weekend with a showdown against SoCon preseason favorite Samford Saturday (8 p.m.).