MORGANTOWN, WV – UNC Greensboro forced a deciding fifth set by winning set four in its opening match at the WVU Classic, but the was unable to complete the comeback as host West Virginia took the fifth set and defeated the Spartans 3-2 on Friday night at the WVU Coliseum. Set scores were 20-25, 25-15, 20-25, 25-18, 3-15.
In the first set, UNCG had to contend with a strong West Virginia offense. The Mountaineers hit .382, making 16 kills off 34 total attacks with three errors, while the Spartans had a .188 hitting percentage with 11 kills off 32 total attacks and five errors. West Virginia took control of the set from the first point. The Mountaineers eventually built an eight-point lead off a UNCG attack error to hold a 19-11 edge. UNCG began to trim down West Virginia's lead. A service ace by junior Branagan Fuller allowed the Spartans to pull within four and make it a 21-17 set in favor of West Virginia. The two teams traded points until West Virginia's Abby Norman had the set-winning kill to give the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead in the match.
UNCG built a 6-3 advantage to start the second set. The Mountaineers scored three-straight points to event the set at 6-6. A kill by Caley Redden allowed UNCG to regain the lead, but West Virginia's Michelle Kopecky had a kill the tied the set. However, four consecutive miscues by the Mountaineers made it an 11-7 set in favor of UNCG, who did not give up the lead for the remainder of the set. UNCG eventually held a six-point, 19-13 edge off a Redden kill. West Virginia and UNCG exchanged kills to make it 20-15 before the Spartans had a five-point run to close out the set and even the match at 1-1. During the Spartans' final run, sophomore Kayren Finney had two kills, including the set-winner, while junior Kayleigh Knerr served an ace and the Mountaineers committed a pair of attack errors.
UNCG held the early lead in the third set, but West Virginia used a six-point run to take an 8-5 advantage. The Spartans fought back and eventually tied the set 10-10 off a Fuller kill. Kylie Armbruster's kill allowed West Virginia to take a one-point lead, but a solo block by senior Kaitlyn Nortz and a service ace from junior Lisa Fawell put the Spartans ahead 12-11. Armbruster tied the set with a kill, while a UNCG attack error gave the Mountaineers a 13-12 edge. Sophomore Alissa Beaudway had a set-tying kill, but West Virginia had a five-point run to take an 18-13 advantage. UNCG eventually got West Virginia's lead down to three as freshman Luciana Shafer had a kill that made it 23-20 in favor of the Mountaineers. However, a kill by Armbruster and a block assist by Norman and Armbruster allowed West Virginia to get the final two points it needed to win the set and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Spartans held the lead throughout the fourth set. With UNCG leading 5-3, junior Emily Lindborg's kill sparked a six-point run that allowed the Spartans to hold an eight-point, 11-3 lead. UNCG eventually took a 13-4 advantage before the Mountaineers rattled off five-straight points to cut UNCG's lead down to four. However, UNCG answered with a five-point run of its own en route to taking an 18-9 advantage. During the run, Fuller, Shafer and Nortz each recorded a kill, junior Catherine Hanners served an ace and West Virginia had a ball handling error. The Mountaineers began to cut into the Spartans' lead and pulled to within five late in the set. However, UNCG got a kill from sophomore Billi Baker and West Virginia committed an attack error as the Spartans won the set, evened the match at 2-2 and forced a deciding fifth set.
In the fifth set, West Virginia score the first seven points, getting five kills and one ace while the Spartans had an attack error. UNCG got its first point of the set with a Mountaineer attack error. However, West Virginia scored four more points to take a 10-point lead before the Spartans got a kill from Nortz. After a UNCG service error, Redden had a kill, but West Virginia scored the final three points it needed to win the set and match.
Nortz committed no attack errors en route to hitting a team-best .480. She made a team-high 12 kills off 25 total attacks. Nortz also totaled five blocks, including two block solos and three block assists, and had one service ace. Fawell put up a team-high 21 assists, while Catherine Hanners had a team-best 18 digs. Hanners also posted two service aces.
Kopecky recorded a match-high 17 kills, while Lisa Hough chipped in with 11 kills. Kari Post had a 44-assist, 17-dig double-double, while Bonnie West led the Mountaineers with 20 digs. West also tallied three service aces.
The Spartans wrap up competition at the WVU Classic on Saturday when the Spartans play George Washington at 12 noon and UMBC at 5:30 p.m.
West Virginia def. UNC Greensboro 25-20,15-25,25-20,18-25,15-3
UNCG (6-5) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Kaitlyn Nortz 12-1-5; Kayren Finney 8-0-1; Branagan Fuller 7-1-0; Alissa Beaudway 6-0-1; Caley Redden 6-0-2; Luciana Shafer 5-0-2; Emily Lindborg 2-0-0; Catherine Hanners 1-2-0; Kimiko Naito 1-1-0; Billi Baker 1-0-1; Kayleigh Knerr 0-1-0; Lisa Fawell 0-1-0; Totals 49-7-8.0. (Assists) - Lisa Fawell 21; Kimiko Naito 14. (Dig leaders) - Catherine Hanners 18; Branagan Fuller 13; Caley Redden 12
West Virginia (3-6) (Kills-aces-blocks) - KOPECKY,Michelle 17-1-2; HOUGH,Lisa 11-0-0; WOLF,Tammy 9-0-2; ARMBRUSTER,Kylie 9-1-1; NORMAN,Abby 8-0-2; POST,Kari 4-0-2; DE ANGELIS,Tamara 0-1-0; WEST,Bonnie 0-3-0; Totals 58-6-5.0. (Assists) - POST,Kari 44. (Dig leaders) - WEST,Bonnie 20; POST,Kari 17; DE ANGELIS,Tamara 15; ARMBRUSTER,Kylie 13
- UNCG -