GREENSBORO, N.C. – In a fitting end to the regular season, the UNCG volleyball team received a number of stellar performances from its seniors to defeat Davidson 3-1 (25-15, 25-21, 19-25, 25-11) Friday night in front of a huge Senior Night crowd at Fleming Gymnasium. The Spartans head into next week’s Southern Conference Tournament with a great deal of momentum having won eight of their last 11 matches.
UNCG (17-12, 10-6 SoCon) picked up its 10th conference victory, marking the first time it has reached double digits in league wins since 2008 and the first time since the league went to a 16-match conference schedule. The Spartans also went 6-2 at home in league matches. Davidson (15-14, 6-9 SoCon) was eliminated from tournament contention with the loss, giving Wofford the final berth into the event.
Senior outside hitter Karrian Chambers (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated) led all players with 17 kills and racked up her 10th double-double of the season. Senior middle hitter Olivia Humphries posted 13 kills on 29 attempts and hit .276 while also adding six digs. Senior middle hitter Morgan Freeman (Virginia Beach, Va./University of Connecticut) hit .500 in the match on the strength of eight kills and no errors and junior middle hitter Kelsey Sidney (Chesterfield, Mo./Marquette HS) tallied 11 kills and hit .412 with just four errors.
Flirting with a triple-double was freshman setter Sara Hohman (Zionsville, Ind./Cathedral) as she continued her run of solid play with 51 assists, seven kills, eight digs, three solo blocks and a hitting percentage of .700.
Defensively, sophomore libero Katherine Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) recorded a match-high 18 digs while senior libero Kellie Orewiler (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Comprehensive) chipped in with 12 of her own.
The Spartans hit a stout .324 in the match and finished the regular season with a .252 team percentage in SoCon matches. UNCG limited Davidson to .169 in the match while also holding the upper hand in kills (67-36), assists (62-34), aces (6-1) and digs (67-40). The Wildcats won the battle at the net, picking up nine blocks to the Spartans’ six.
After the teams played to a 4-4 tie to begin the first set, Davidson scored the next two points via a Chambers attacking error and Caroline Brown kill. The score was tied at seven before UNCG went off on a 7-3 run to establish a 14-10 advantage and force a Wildcat timeout. The Spartans scored four of the next five points and did not look back as a Chambers kill ended the stanza 25-15 in UNCG’s favor.
A kill by Freeman helped the Blue and Gold break open a 7-7 deadlock in the second frame as UNCG pushed in front 12-8 and prompted a Davidson timeout. The lead grew to 16-10 after a Humphries kill before the Wildcats rallied to within 17-14 on a Humphries attacking error. The Spartans settled and took a 20-15 edge after a kill by Sidney. It would be enough to help UNCG hang on down the stretch as they captured the set 25-21 and seized control of the match two sets to none.
After intermission, Davidson scored the first three points and eventually took an 8-3 lead after an attacking error by Chambers. The Wildcats were ahead 11-5 later in the set before the Spartans exploded to capture six of the next seven rallies and draw within 12-11. UNCG owned a couple of one point leads after a Davidson timeout, but with the score knotted at 15, the Wildcats went on a 5-1 run to seize control 20-16. The Spartans could not answer as the visitors extended the match with a 25-19 set three victory.
The fourth stanza was all UNCG as the Blue and Gold raced out to a 10-4 lead. Davidson called timeout to try to quell the run, but an ace by Hohman made the score 12-5 before the Spartans moved even further ahead at 16-7 after a ball-handling error by Mikayla Derochie. The Wildcats did not threaten again as UNCG ran away from Davidson and clinched the match with the 25-11 win.
With the regular season complete, the Spartans turn their attention to the 2013 Southern Conference Volleyball Championship scheduled for Nov. 22-24 at Furman’s Timmons Arena. The event features the top eight finishers in the league standings. Depending on the outcome of Appalachian State’s matches the remainder of the weekend, UNCG will be either the fourth or fifth seed. The complete bracket, including match times, will be revealed tomorrow evening.
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