HIGH POINT, NC – UNC Greensboro won its final two matches at the HPU Volleyball Classic presented by Radisson Hotel on Saturday, Sept. 6, sweeping South Carolina State 3-0 and then hanging for a 3-2 victory over East Carolina at the Millis Center. Set scores to the match against South Carolina State were 25-17, 25-15, 25-18. Set scores in the East Carolina match were 26-28, 25-16, 25-21, 16-25, 24-22.
UNCG controlled the first and second sets of the match against South Carolina State. The Spartans had 32 kills off 60 total attacks with 8 errors for a .400 hitting percentage through the first two sets. Additionally, UNCG held the lead throughout the entire first two sets.
In the first set, UNCG put together three-point runs on four different occasions to eventually take a 15-7 lead. Although the Lady Bulldogs pulled to within six at several different times late in the match, back-to-back kills by senior Kaitlyn Nortz and junior Branagan Fuller gave the Spartans a 22-14 advantage. UNCG ultimately won the set as sophomore Alissa Beaudway recorded a kill off an assist by junior Kayleigh Knerr.
In the second set, the Spartans took an early 7-3 lead, scoring three-straight points off a kill by sophomore Kayren Finney and back-to-back kills by freshman Luciana Shafer. After South Carolina State made it a three-point set on two different occasions, the Spartans continued to increase their lead. With the score 13-9, a kill from Beaudway began a four-point run, allowing UNCG to lead by eight. The Spartans ultimately pushed their lead to nine as Shafer and junior Emily Lindborg blocked Linnie Garrett's attack to make it 20-11. UNCG and South Carolina State traded points and each team had a two-point run before the Lady Bulldogs committed an error that allowed the Spartans to take the second set.
UNCG and South Carolina State battled for control early in the third set. After UNCG scored the set's first three points, South Carolina State had a pair of three-point runs in order to take a 6-4 advantage. The lead flip-flopped between the two teams before Garrett's kill tied the set at 12-all. Junior Samantha Kirby had a kill on the next play gave UNCG the lead for what proved to be for the remainder of the set. The Spartans eventually concluded the set with a five-point run that included a pair of South Carolina State errors and kills from Fuller and juniors Catherine Hanners and Lisa Fawell.
Fuller posted her second double-double of the tournament, totaling 16 kills and 10 digs, both of which were match-highs. Fawell had a match-high 18 assists, while sophomore Kimiko Naito totaled 16 assists.
Peri Ligons led the Lady Bulldogs with eight kills. Bria Brimmer totaled 17 assists, while Lauren Harris had nine digs.
The match against East Carolina proved to be a marathon with two of the sets, including deciding set five, going into extra points.
UNCG and East Carolina remained close to each other throughout the first set as just a few points separated the two teams. The Pirates eventually took a 20-16 lead as Lizzy Bruin had a kill. UNCG responded and rattled off five-straight points to take a 21-20 advantage. After trading points, East Carolina got a kill from Bruin and a block by Bruin and Stephanie Turner to take a 23-22 lead. From that point on, the teams traded points before the Pirates got the final two points of the set.
In the second set, the Spartans set the tone on both offense and defense. Offensively, UNCG had a trio of five-point runs and a late four-point run. Defensively, the Spartans registered 15 block assists for a team total of 7.5 blocks. An early kill by Finney started the first five-point run that included three blocks and resulted in a 6-2 UNCG advantage. Although East Carolina got a kill from Amanda Lutzow on the next play, a Beaudway kill started the Spartans' second five-point run. During that run, both Nortz and Fuller had kills, while Nortz and redshirt sophomore Caley Redden combined for a block as UNCG took an 11-3 lead. The Pirates cut UNCG's lead in half before they had a service error that began the Spartans' third five-point run and allowed UNCG to make it a 16-7 set. UNCG ultimately pushed its lead to 10 points on two occasions, including a 22-12 advantage. The Spartans eventually won the set and even the match at 1-1 with a Nortz kill.
UNCG led throughout the third set, but was not able to big a large lead until a late five-point run. With the score 19-17, a kill by Finney began the Spartans' run. East Carolina committed three straight errors, including having an attack blocked by Hanners, Finney and Beaudway. Fawell served an ace in order to put UNCG up 24-17, but the Pirates rallied with their own four-point run to pull to within three. However, Finney recorded the set-winning kill to give the Spartans a 2-1 match lead.
In the fourth set, UNCG and East Carolina remained within striking distance of each other until the Pirates scored five-straight points. The Pirates run started with an Erica Banning kill and resulted in East Carolina holding an 18-14 advantage. Back-to-back kills by Nortz and Shafer allowed UNCG to pull to within two, but the Pirates reeled off the final seven points of the set to tie the match at 2-2 and force a deciding set five.
Control of the fifth set flip-flopped between UNCG and the Pirates early in the set. The Spartans eventually took a 7-4 lead, which ultimately proved to be the largest lead either team would hold during the set. East Carolina had the next two points of the set in order to make it a one-point set. The teams traded points until the Pirates score three-straight to take a 13-12 advantage. UNCG answered with kills from Fuller and Hanners return the lead to the Spartans and make it a 14-13 set. UNCG and East Carolina exchanged points until a pair of Spartan errors allowed the Pirates to take a 21-20 lead. Nortz evened the set at 21-all with a kill, but Lutzow's kill allowed East Carolina to make it 22-21. However, Finney recorded the set-tying and go-ahead kills for the Spartans, while a Hanners kill sealed the win for the Spartans.
Fuller posted her second double-double of the day and her third of the tournament with a 20-kill, 22-dig performance against East Carolina. Nortz chipped in with 17 kills, while Finney had a career-tying 14. Finney also set a new career-high in blocks as she totaled nine block assists. Meanwhile, Fawell totaled 33 assists, while Naito had 26.
Lutzow totaled a team-high 19 kills, while Turner had a 13-kill, 13-dig double-double. Banning also added 13 kills. Hannah Fenker put up 59 assists. Trish Monroe tallied 28 digs.
The All-Tournament Team was announced following the completion of the High Point-Marist match. Fuller and Finney were both selected to the team. Fuller posted a double-double in all three of the Spartans' matches. She totaled 50 kills and 46 digs and averaged 4.17 kills per set and 3.83 digs per set. Finney totaled 16 block assists and averaged 1.60 blocks in the tournament. She also made 29 kills.
UNCG is back in action on Sunday, Sept. 7 when the Spartans host Missouri State at Fleming Gymnasium. Match time is scheduled for 12 Noon.
UNCG def. South Carolina State 25-17,25-15,25-18
South Carolina State (1-6) (Kills-aces-blocks) - LIGONS,Peri 8-0-2; KLOSS,Gisela 6-2-2; GLEATON,Jarne 3-1-0; GARRETT,Linnie 3-0-3; HARRIS,Lauren 1-0-0; BRIMMER,Bria 1-0-1; ROBERSON,Shabree 1-0-2; Totals 23-3-6.0. (Assists) - BRIMMER,Bria 17. (Dig leaders) - HARRIS,Lauren 9; BRIMMER,Bria 8
UNCG (4-2) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Branagan Fuller 16-0-0; Luciana Shafer 6-0-3; Catherine Hanners 6-0-1; Samantha Kirby 4-0-1; Emily Lindborg 4-0-5; Kaitlyn Nortz 3-1-0; Alissa Beaudway 3-0-1; Kayren Finney 2-0-0; Lisa Fawell 2-2-0; Kayleigh Knerr 0-1-0; Totals 46-4-6.0. (Assists) - Lisa Fawell 18; Kimiko Naito 16. (Dig leaders) - Branagan Fuller 10; Kimiko Naito 9
UNC Greensboro def. East Carolina 26-28,25-16,25-21,16-25,24-22
UNCG (5-2) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Branagan Fuller 20-3-3; Kaitlyn Nortz 17-0-8; Kayren Finney 14-0-9; Catherine Hanners 8-2-5; Alissa Beaudway 5-0-6; Caley Redden 3-0-6; Luciana Shafer 1-0-0; Kimiko Naito 0-1-0; Kayleigh Knerr 0-1-0; Lisa Fawell 0-1-0; Totals 68-8-19.0. (Assists) - Lisa Fawell 33; Kimiko Naito 26. (Dig leaders) - Branagan Fuller 22; Kayleigh Knerr 15
East Carolina (6-2) (Kills-aces-blocks) - LUTZOW, Amanda 19-0-4; BANNING, Erica 13-0-5; TURNER, Stephanie 13-0-3; BRUIN, Lizzy 8-0-3; ZENTNER, Melissa 7-0-0; FENKER, Hannah 4-0-2; ROPER, Britney 3-0-0; PRAST, Katie 3-0-0; STALL, Bobbi Jo 1-0-2; GILMORE, Kylie 0-1-0; Totals 71-1-10.0. (Assists) - FENKER, Hannah 59. (Dig leaders) - MONROE, Trish 28; TURNER, Stephanie 13
Bria Brimmer, South Carolina State
Joanna Foss, Marist
Trish Monroe, East Carolina
Kayren Finney, UNC Greensboro
Branagan Fuller, UNC Greensboro
Audie Gonzalez, High Point
Ashley Mellott, High Point
Kristina Taylor, High Point
- UNCG -