GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG volleyball team notched its third-straight win Friday night inside Fleming Gymnasium, putting together an impressive 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-16) sweep of Western Carolina in a key Southern Conference match. It is the first time all season the Spartans have either won or lost more than two consecutive contests.
“I am really proud of the team tonight,” head coach Patrick Nicholas said. “We were very offensive and to score 62 points in a three-set match is almost unheard of. I like the fact we are playing well at home. Hopefully we will continue that tomorrow night against a really good Appalachian State team.”
As the SoCon hitting percentage leader in league matches, UNCG (14-10, 7-4 SoCon) did not change that Friday – hitting a stout .354 while limiting the Catamounts (16-9, 6-5 SoCon) to a .221 percentage. The Spartans also picked up more kills (54-36), assists (52-32), aces (7-0) and digs (59-41) while the blocking battle went Western’s way 5.0-1.0. The Blue and Gold sided out at 67 percent for the match and held the Catamounts to a 52-percent mark.
UNCG was led by a pair of fantastic performances from its outside hitters as senior Karrian Chambers (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated) and freshman Jessica Brezwyn (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South) posted 16 and 11 kills respectively. Both players also notched double-doubles with Chambers tallying 11 digs and Brezwyn 10. Additionally, Chambers hit .464 in the match while Brezwyn fired at a .333 clip.
Speaking of high hitting marks, senior middle hitter Morgan Freeman (Virginia Beach, Va./University of Connecticut) and junior middle hitter Vicky Harley (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) put together respective percentages of .778 and .444. Harley had 10 kills in the match while Freeman ended up with seven.
“We kept the pressure on Western throughout the match and I thought everybody played really well tonight,” Freeman said. “We are really focusing on our side of the net and what we can control. We are just trying to keep climbing the standings by playing well at home.”
Defensively, senior libero Kellie Orewiler (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Comprehensive) racked up 20 digs to lead all players. She out-dueled the league leader in digs, Morgan Cochran, who checked in with 17. Freshman setter Sara Hohman (Zionsville, Ind./Cathedral), the reigning SoCon Freshman of the Week, fell just two digs short of her seventh double-double as she posted eight digs to go along with an impressive 47 assists. She also recorded a career-high four aces.
The teams matched each other point for point throughout most of the early portion of the first set until an ace by Hohman and a kill by Harley gave UNCG an 11-9 advantage. Western Carolina would tie the set at 11 after a Hohman ball-handling error, but the Spartans notched four of the next five points to establish some breathing room at 15-12. A block by Addy George and Caitlin Piechota made the score 16-15 in favor of the Blue and Gold before the Catamounts called for timeout trailing 18-16.
The respite proved ineffective as UNCG tallied four of the next five and went ahead 22-17 after consecutive aces by Hohman. After another WCU timeout, the Spartans gained their first set point at 24-18. The Catamounts made one last push, scoring the next five points to make things interesting, but a kill by Brezwyn slammed the door shut and UNCG held on to win the first frame 25-23.
The Blue and Gold grabbed a quick 3-1 lead in the second stanza before a kill by senior middle hitter Olivia Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) made it 7-3. Western Carolina never really threatened in the frame, coming as close as 14-11 before a 4-1 UNCG run put it out of reach. The Spartans held leads of 20-14 and 22-17 before Harley rose high over the block and put the ball down to clinch the set 25-19 and give UNCG a 2-0 lead in the match.
Desperate to stay in the match, the Catamounts came out with purpose after the intermission – establishing a 6-2 advantage after an attacking error by Harley. However, the Spartans settled down and used four-straight kills to tie the score at six apiece. Western kept the lead for a little bit, but after a kill by Freeman knotted the set at 11, an ace by Freeman and two kills from Chambers afforded UNCG a 14-11 cushion and forced a visitor timeout. A kill by Jordan Timmerman drew WCU within 15-14, but the Spartans were not fazed and scored the next three points to put some space between the squads. The Blue and Gold allowed Western Carolina just two more points the rest of the way as an attacking error by Nicole Ford ended the stanza 25-16 and completed the Spartan sweep.
A big match awaits UNCG tomorrow night inside Fleming Gymnasium as the Spartans will take on Appalachian State. The Mountaineers swept Elon earlier this evening and sit just one match behind the Blue and Gold in the SoCon standings.