BOONE, NC – College of Charleston used four players with double-figure kills to defend its Southern Conference title and end UNC Greensboro’s dramatic conference tournament run, 3-1, in the championship match of the 2006 Southern Conference Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the Holmes Center on Sunday afternoon.
UNCG was led by Branagan Fuller’s 16 kills. The Spartans also got 12 kills from Kaitlyn Nortz and nine by Theresa Hart, seven of those in the final two games when UNCG came on strong. Hart also had 15 digs, while Lisa Fawell had 47 assists. However, the Spartans had dug themselves a sizeable hole when they lost the first two games, 30-24 and 30-18, hitting minus-.040 in those games.
The Spartans closed out the season with a 23-13 record, their best record since a 24-4 mark in 1995. It was also the first time since 1995 that the Spartans had advanced to a conference tournament’s title match, last earning a trip to the Big South title match but losing to UMBC. UNCG had not won a SoCon Tournament match in its 10-year history prior to this weekend. However, the Spartans swept the Citadel on Thursday afternoon and then upset second-seeded Furman on Friday night and third-seeded Appalachian State on Saturday, teams they had not beaten in the last six seasons, to gain a spot in Sunday’s final.
College of Charleston (26-7) got 14 kills each by Annie Uthe and Emily Swain. Swain had 10 digs, while Uthe had seven blocks. Deanna Patrick chipped in with 12 kills and Tiffany Blum added 10 kills and eight blocks.
After dropping the first two games, UNCG got things rolling in the third. Trailing 22-20, UNCG scored five of the next seven points to gain a 25-24 lead. With the score tied, 26-26, UNCG won back-to-back points to force College of Charleston to call a timeout. However, UNCG won two of the next three points, capped off by a kill by Hart, to win the game, 30-27, and keep the match alive.
In the fourth game, it looked like College of Charleston had things well in hand when the Cougars used a 15-3 run to break open a 2-2 tie. But the Spartans battled back. Still down 12 at 22-10, UNCG scored seven of the next nine points to close to within 24-17. UNCG got to within five at 26-21 on a kill by Lauren Keiser, but the Cougars scored the final four points to win the match and the Southern Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament field of 64.
The title was the third in a row for the Cougars and fourth in the last five years.
Coll. of Charleston def. UNC Greensboro 30-24, 30-18, 27-30, 30-21
UNC Greensboro (23-13) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Branagan Fuller 16-0-1; Kaitlyn Nortz 12-1-7; Theresa Hart 9-0-1; Lauren Keiser 8-0-2; Emily Lindborg 3-0-1; Lisa Fawell 2-0-2; Catherine Hanners 0-1-0; Hilary Overby 0-1-0; Totals 50-3-8.0. (Assists) - Lisa Fawell 47. (Dig leaders) - Catherine Hanners 21; Theresa Hart 15; Lauren Keiser 14; Kayleigh Knerr 10; Lisa Fawell 8.
Coll. of Charleston (26-7) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Emily Sawin 14-1-4; Annie Uthe 14-0-7; Deanna Patrick 12-0-4; Tiffany Blum 10-0-8; Lindsey Kane 7-0-4; Alexis Lowes 4-1-6; Sarah Voss 1-0-0; Megan Parkerson 0-2-0; Marie Dobrenz 0-1-0; Totals 62-5-18.0. (Assists) - Lindsey Kane 46. (Dig leaders) - Marie Dobrenz 26; Megan Parkerson 13; Alexis Lowes 13; Lindsey Kane 10; Emily Sawin 10.
2006 All-Tournament Team
Dianna Thomas, Appalachian State
Lara Newberry, Chattanooga
Theresa Hart, UNCG
Kaitlyn Nortz, UNCG
Tiffany Blum, College of Charleston
Marie Dobrenz, College of Charleston
Deanna Patrick, College of Charleston
Most Outstanding Player
Tiffany Blum, College of Charleston
- UNCG -