UNCG upsets No. 3 Furman, 3-1; advances to SoCon semifinals
CHATTANOOGA, TN – The UNC Greensboro volleyball team upset No. 3 Furman, 3-1 in quarterfinal round action at the Southern Conference Tournament at McClellan Gym on Friday afternoon.
UNCG will advance to the semifinals for the second consecutive season, where they will meet Appalachian State winners against Davidson earlier on Friday.
UNCG (19-14) had three players with double digit kills with sophomore Branagan Fuller leading the way with a team-high 20. Catherine Hanners led the way on the defensive end with 27 digs while Lisa Fawell dished out 45 assists in the win.
Furman (20-9) had three players with double-digit kills and was led by Chibuzo Aguocha who also tallied 20 kills on the afternoon. Nicole Palazzo tallied 1 kills on 30 attempts with only two errors. She had a match high .433 hitting percentage.
Game one saw the Lady Paladins dispense points evenly with Chibuzo Aguocha with eight kills and Nicole Palazzo and Allison West with five a piece. Furman started the game with a 4-1 lead with kills from Aguocha, Palazzo and Emily Harby. UNCG went on an 8-4 run to tie the game at 8-8. The Spartans then went on an 11-0 run to take the lead at 19-15. The team’s battled back and fourth with the Spartans taking a small lead at 24-21. Furman captured the lead with kills from Palazzo, West and Agoucha and the teams fought through three ties before kills by West and Agoucha won the game for the Lady Paladins 30-28.
The Spartans got off to a strong start in game two by taking an 8-3 led with perfectly placed attacks and errors by the Lady Paladins. Furman was able to counter and tied the game at 11-11. Each team went on runs with the Lady Paladins scoring eight and the Spartans scoring nine. Both teams battled back and forth with neither team taking an advantage. A kill by Fuller and a Furman hitting error gave the Spartans the win at 32-30, to tie the match.
Furman started game three with a 6-2 run behind three errors from UNC Greensboro and kills from West, Kerry Wooten and Courtney Stewardson. UNCG went on an 8-4 scoring spree to tie the game at 10-10. The Spartans went up 15-10 behind two kills and a service ace coupled with two Furman hitting errors. The Spartans wouldn’t relinquish the lead after that point and were ahead by eight points at one point. UNCG would take a 2-1 match lead with a 32-30 win.
Game four featured a game much like the third game. Both teams were even in the statistical categories with Furman recording 15 kills and UNC Greensboro tallying 17. Neither team was able to take a large lead but Furman took a lead 26-23 with a kills from Alison West but UNCG went on an 8-3 run down the stretch to win the match 30-28.
This marks the second consecutive season the Spartans have upset Furman in the SoCon Tournament. Last year UNCG defeated Furman, 3-0 and then knocked off Appalachian State en route to a spot in the finals.
UNCG will take on No. 2 seeded Appalachian State in semifinal action Saturday at 4:30 pm.
UNCG def. Furman 28-30,32-30,30-24,30-28
UNCG (19-14, 12-7) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Branagan Fuller 20-1-1;Lauren Keiser 12-0-4; Kaitlyn Nortz 12-0-8; Katherine Hart 11-0-4;Emily Lindborg 7-0-3; Lisa Fawell 5-0-0; Alissa Beaudway 2-0-0; Kimiko Naito 0-2-0; Catherine Hanners 0-4-0; Elizabeth Flattery 0-1-0; Totals 69-8-11.0. (Assists) - Lisa Fawell 45; Kimiko Naito 13. (Dig leaders)- Catherine Hanners 27; Branagan Fuller 9; Kimiko Naito 8
Furman (20-9, 13-6) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Chibuzo Aguocha 20-1-2;Alison West 19-1-0; Nicole Palazzo 15-0-6; Kerry Wooten 9-0-2;Courtney Stewardson 4-1-2; Emily Harby 4-0-1; Katherine Hall 0-0-1;Stephanie Smith 0-1-0; Totals 71-4-8.0. (Assists) – Courtney Stewardson 61. (Dig leaders) - Alison West 14; Courtney Stewardson 14;Brooke Ellison 12; Pamela Gehrke 12; Chibuzo Aguocha 11
- UNCG -