CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The UNCG volleyball team built a 2-0 lead at Chattanooga Friday night, but had to hold on for a 3-2 (25-11, 25-16, 19-25, 18-25, 15-8) victory inside Maclellan Gym in Southern Conference play. With the triumph, the Spartans improve to 11-9 overall and 4-3 in the SoCon while the Mocs drop to 3-19 and 2-5.
Senior outside hitter Karrian Chambers (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated) reached a significant career milestone in the win as she became the ninth player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-kill mark. She finished with 13 kills and hit .290 in the match while senior middle hitter Olivia Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) led all players with 14 kills to go along with six blocks. Reaching a career high defensively was freshman outside hitter Jessica Brezwyn (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South) who produced 19 digs and also chipped in with seven kills and an ace. Freshman setter Sara Hohman (Zionsville, Ind./Cathedral) posted her third double-double of the season with 27 assists and 14 digs.
Also reaching double figures offensively was junior middle hitter Vicky Harley (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) as she tallied 12 kills and hit .333 while also adding three blocks. Redshirt sophomore middle hitter Julia Westerbur (College Station, Texas/SMU) was also active at the net, piling up seven blocks
On the back row, the Spartan libero tandem of senior Kellie Orewiler (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Comprehensive) and sophomore Katherine Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) racked up 16 and 20 digs respectively as UNCG out-dug the home side 95-73.
The Blue and Gold limited Chattanooga to a .088 hitting performance while firing at .247 themselves. UNCG also held the upper hand in kills (63-45), assists (57-42) and blocks (12.0-7.0).
It was all Spartans at the outset of the match as they netted the first seven points and forced an early UTC timeout. UNCG would only extend its lead from there as a kill by Brezwyn made the score 13-3 and prompted another Chattanooga timeout. The Mocs were never really in the frame as the Blue and Gold was able to close it out 25-11.
The second stanza began much more competitively as neither team held more than a one-point lead until the score settled at 8-8. UNCG benefitted from a pair of Chattanooga errors to move in front 10-8, but the Mocs were able to rally back and knot the score at 13 thanks to a kill by Sarah Batterton. The Spartans dug down and quieted the crowd by scoring four-straight points to take a 17-13 lead. That would be enough for UNCG as it out-scored UTC 8-3 the rest of the way to win the set 25-16 and take a commanding 2-0 advantage in the match.
The squads played to a 9-9 deadlock in the third set before the Mocs, desperate to stay in the match, went on a 6-3 run to establish a 15-12 cushion. A kill by senior middle hitter Morgan Freeman (Virginia Beach, Va./University of Connecticut) pulled the Spartans within two, but Chattanooga put together two-straight scores to push ahead by four. UNCG got as close as 21-17 late, but the Mocs were able to shut the door and win the third stanza 25-19.
A kill by Humphries kept the Blue and Gold close in the fourth set, trailing just 8-6. However, Chattanooga ran away with the frame from there, scoring nine of the next 12 points to make it 17-9. The Mocs would reach set point at 24-15 via a kill by Kendall Sexton and would eventually win it by a 25-18 score to tie the match at two sets apiece.
Chambers gave UNCG a 1-0 lead in the deciding frame thanks to a kill and the Spartans would build on that to establish a 4-1 cushion. UNCG kept Chattanooga at an arm’s length, forcing the Mocs to call for timeout when a ball-handling error afforded the Blue and Gold a 6-2 lead. An attacking error by Batterton kept the Spartans ahead 8-4 as the teams switched benches before a 3-1 UNCG run ended all of Chattanooga’s comeback hopes. The Blue and Gold netted four of the last seven points to clinch the set 15-8 and the match.
UNCG will look for a weekend road sweep when it travels to Birmingham, Ala. Saturday night for a matchup with league preseason favorite Samford. First serve inside the Pete Hanna Center is slated for 8 p.m.