Spartans fall at Elon in SoCon opener
ELON, NC – The UNC Greensboro women’s volleyball team lost its Southern Conference opener, 3-2, to Elon Tuesday night at Alumni Gym.
UNCG drops to 9-4 on the year, while Elon improves to 3-5 on the season. The Phoenix won the match by scores of 30-28, 27-30, 30-23, 24-30, 15-11 to send the Spartans to their first five-game loss of the year.
Senior Theresa Hart and sophomore Kaitlyn Nortz did most of the damage offensively for UNCG. Hart put away a team-high 18 kills, while Nortz added 17 kills for her fifth straight match double digit effort to go with five block assists. In addition, senior Hilary Overby had nine kills and 10 digs for the Spartans.
Freshman Catherine Hanners had a team-leading 17 digs, while freshman setter Lisa Fawell notched 57 assists and 11 assists.
Mandy Wilson led Elon with a match-high 24 kills, while Juliena Gigon had 18 kills. Natalie Moore dished out 65 assists.
UNCG went up 5-3 early in the fifth game before Elon tied it 5-5
on a Spartan attack error. UNCG maintained the lead at 6-5 but Elon
score the next four points to go ahead 9-6. The Phoenix kept the
lead and finished the game 15-11 on an attack error by UNCG.
In the first game of the match, Elon jumped to an early 9-2 lead and extended the advantage to 20-9 on a Gigon kill. But the Spartans chipped away at the lead and came within two at 25-23. Elon pushed the lead back to five at 29-24 but UNCG came with one at 29-28 behind the blocking of sophomore Liz Benzschawel and junior Lauren Keiser. Up by one at 29-28, the Phoenix finished the game 30-28 on a kill from Gigon.
After a 13-13 tie in game two, Elon took the lead and pushed it to as much as four at 19-15 on a Gigon kill before the Spartans knotted the game 23-23 on a Phoenix attack error. After two more ties, the last one coming at 26-26, UNCG took the lead on an Elon service error. Ahead 28-27, the Spartans closed the game on a kill from Benzschawel and a block by Benzschawel and freshman Branagan Fuller to win 30-27.
In the third game, Elon took an early 9-5 lead and extended that edge to six at 18-12 on a kill from Wilson. The Phoenix hung on to the advantage and went up by as much as eight at 26-18 before closing the game 30-23.
In game four, the Phoenix again went up 9-5 on a Wilson kill. Elon took a five-point lead at 15-10 on a service ace from Brooke Pickard before the Spartans went on a 6-1 run behind the offense of Fuller and Overby to knot the game 16-16. Elon took the lead after a 17-17 tie and went up 23-20 before the Spartans scored three straight points to tie the game 23-23. After a 24-24 tie, a kill from Nortz put UNCG ahead 25-24. The Spartans score the next five points, behind three blocks, to finish the game 30-24 and force the fifth game. UNCG hit .333 for the game with 14 kills and only four errors on 30 attempts.
UNCG heads to Greenville, SC to take on SoCon rival Furman on Saturday at 7 pm. Meanwhile, Elon visits league foe Wofford on Saturday at 7 pm.
Elon def. UNC Greensboro 3-2 (30-28, 27-30, 30-23, 24-30, 15-11)
UNC Greensboro (9-4, 0-1 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Theresa Hart 18-1-0; Kaitlyn Nortz 17-1-5; Hilary Overby 9-2-2; Branagan Fuller 8-0-3; Liz Benzschawel 7-0-5; Lauren Keiser 6-1-3; Lisa Fawell 2-0-3; Christin Heverly 0-1-0; Totals 67-6-11.0. (Assists) - Lisa Fawell 57. (Dig leaders) - Catherine Hanners 17; Lisa Fawell 11; Hilary Overby 10; Lauren Keiser 8; Kaitlyn Nortz 8.
Elon (3-5, 1-0 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Mandy Wilson 24-0-1; Juliena Gigon 18-1-5; Britany Westphal 14-0-0; Emily Lucci 8-1-3; Emily Downing 6-0-3; Natalie Moore 3-1-4; Jessica Barrow 2-0-0; Brooke Pickard 0-3-0; Totals 75-6-9.0. (Assists) - Natalie Moore 65. (Dig leaders) - Brooke Pickard 16; Emily Downing 14; Emily Lucci 12; Juliena Gigon 11; Natalie Moore 9.
- UNCG -