MORGANTOWN, WV – Junior Branagan Fuller notched the 1,000th kill of her career on Saturday as the UNC Greensboro defeated George Washington 3-2 and swept UMBC 3-0 at the WVU Classic held at the WVU Coliseum. Set scores to the match with George Washington were 25-13, 22-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-8. Set scores to the match with UMBC were 25-23, 25-21, 25-21.
Fuller's 1,000th kill came in the third set against UMBC that put the Spartans up 17-16. She entered the weekend with 973 kills. Fuller is eighth player in program history to reach the 1,000-kill plateau and is one of two active players to reach that mark. Senior Kaitlyn Nortz recorded her 1,000th career kill last season at Chattanooga on Oct. 13, 2007.
In the match against George Washington, the Spartans jumped out quick in the first set as they scored seven of the set's first eight points and held a 7-1 advantage. George Washington eventually cut UNCG's lead down to four as a Spartan attack error made it a 10-6 set. However, an attack error by the Colonials on the next play began a six-point Spartan run. Freshman Luciana Shafer had a pair of kills and Fuller and junior Emily Lindborg each had a kill during the run, which allowed UNCG to take a 16-6 lead. The Colonials trimmed UNCG's advantage down to nine on two different occasions, but that proved to be the closest the Spartans would allow George Washington to get. The Spartans pushed their lead to 13 on two occasions late in the set before ultimately winning the set on a kill by redshirt sophomore Caley Redden.
The second set proved to be a different story as neither team was able to build much of a lead through the first parts of the set. UNCG held a pair of three-point leads early on as sophomore Kimiko Naito had a service ace to make it 7-4. After a UNCG attack error, Fuller returned the three-point lead to the Spartans. However, George Washington's Jackie Yaniga had a kill on the next play that started a four-point run and led to the Colonials taking a 9-8 edge. UNCG scored straight points on a George Washington attack error and a service ace by junior Catherine Hanners to hold a 10-9 lead. On the next play, Hannah Stuart's kill tied the set 10-10, but UNCG regained the lead a Nortz had a kill. UNCG maintained the slim lead until a three-point Colonial run resulted in George Washington taking a 15-14 advantage. The two teams exchanged points again until a kill by Liz Moult sparked a four-point run for the Colonials and made it 20-16. The Spartans eventually trimmed the lead down to two with a Shafer kill. George Washington regained a four-point margin as Abby Syverson and Stuart blocked a UNCG attack to make it 23-19. UNCG began to rally back, using a Colonial attack error and kills from Fuller and Redden to pull to within one. However, a Stuart kill and a UNCG attack error provide the Colonials with the final two points they need to win the set and tie the match 1-1.
UNCG and George Washington traded the lead through the early parts of the third set. With the Colonials up 9-8, Shafer had a kill that was the first of five-straight Spartan points that resulted in UNCG taking a 13-9 lead. UNCG remained in control of the lead throughout the rest of the set. The Spartans increased their advantage to six as George Washington committed four consecutive miscues to put UNCG up 19-13. Although the Colonial pulled to within three on two different occasions, sophomore Kayren Finney's kill started a three-point run to give UNCG a 23-17 edge. Sophomore Billi Baker ultimately recorded the set-winning kill and gave the Spartans a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set was just as close as set two. The teams tied 14 times during the set. Meanwhile, George Washington had a pair of four-point leads, which was the largest margin of the set. With UNCG up 7-6, the Colonials rattled off four points to take a 10-6 lead. However, the Spartans answered with its own four-point run to tie the set. Neither team could establish much of a lead until UNCG had a service error that started a four-point run for the Colonials and made it 22-18 in favor of George Washington. The Spartans began to comeback and back-to-back kills by Finney made it a one-point, 23-22 Colonial edge. George Washington regained a two-point lead off a Stuart kill, but a bad set by MacKenzie Knox made it a one-point set. However, a UNCG attack error provided the Colonials with the final point they needed and forced a deciding fifth set.
Control for the final set flip-flopped between the two teams until the midway point. After Jackie Yaniga's kill gave George Washington an 8-7 lead, a Finney kill on the next play resulted in eight-straight UNCG points and the Spartans winning the match. UNCG's final run also included two service aces from Hanners, two Shafer kills and three George Washington attack errors.
Fuller and Shafer each recorded a double-double. Fuller
totaled a team-high 15 kills and had 19 digs. Shafter made 13
kills and 15 digs. She also had five block assists.
Naito posted a team-best 25 assists, while Hanners totaled a
match-high 22 digs. Finney posted a team-best nine block
assists, while Nortz had six.
Stuart led the Colonials with a 16-kill, 13-dig double-double. Alyssa Valentine totaled 39 assists and three block solos. Leah Hill totaled a team-best 20 digs.
In the first set of the match with UMBC, the Spartans had to withstand several late rallies by the Retrievers. UNCG held the lead throughout much of the first set and eventually took a 17-10 advantage off a UMBC attack error. UMBC cut the Spartans' lead down to five with a kill by Bridget Scheetz and a block assist by Ashley Oscars and Sarah Hill. The Spartans regained a seven-point lead with a Finney kill and a UMBC attack error to make it a 19-12 set. However, a kill by Oscars sparked a five-point run that made it 19-17 in favor of UNCG. Back-to-back attack errors by UMBC and a block assist from Nortz and Shafer pushed UNCG's lead to five, but the Spartans' advantage disappeared as a kill by Alyssa Lang started a five-point run that evened the set at 22-all. The Spartans went up 24-22 off a Shafer kill and a block assist by sophomore Aissa Beaudway and Nortz. A kill by Hill made pull the Retrievers to within one, but Beaudway notched the set-winning kill to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead in the match.
UMBC held the lead throughout the early parts of the second set, but UNCG used a four-point run to take an 11-8 advantage. A kill by Nortz started the run that also included two Fuller kills and a block assist by Beaudway and Nortz. The Spartans eventually pushed their advantage to five as a UMBC attack error made it a 20-15 set. A kill by Sarah Joy and a UNCG attack error allowed the Retrievers to come within three, but a kill from Nortz and a block by Finney put UNCG up 22-17. The Retrievers made it a three-point set on three different occasions, including a kill from Oscars to make it 24-21 in favor of UNCG, but Finney scored the set-winning kill to put the Spartans up 2-0 in the match.
In the third set, UMBC was up 8-6 before a four-straight points for the Spartans allowed UNCG to take a 10-8 edge. The Spartans maintained the advantage until back-to-back kills from Lang and a UNCG attack error gave the Retrievers a 15-14 lead. UNCG got a two points, but a Scheetz kill evened the set at 16-all. The Spartans regained a two-point margin off Fuller's 1,000th kill and a UMBC attack error, but back-to-back UMBC points tied the match at 18-18. UNCG began to pull away as Retrievers had three consecutive errors to make it 21-18 in favor of the Spartans. However, an Oscars kill and a UNCG attack error made it a one-point set. UNCG answered with a Shafer kill and UMBC committed an attack error as the Spartans took a three-point, 23-20 edge. After a kill by Joy pulled the Retrievers to within two, UNCG closed out the set and the match with a pair of block assists. Baker and Nortz teamed up for a block assist that made it 24-21, while Nortz and Shafer's block on Hill's attack allowed UNCG to get the match-winning point.
Finney and Nortz each recorded a match-high 11 kills and posted hitting percentages of .400 and .346, respectively. Nortz also had seven block assists, while Finney tallied three block solos. Sophomore Lisa Fawell totaled 18 assists. Hanners posted a match-high 20 digs, while Fuller and Shafer had 16 and 11 digs, respectively.
Oscars led the Retrievers with nine kills. Alexandria Spaay totaled 20 assists, while Pam Jarrett had 18 digs.
UNCG returns to action on Wednesday night when the Spartans open Southern Conference play at Appalachian State. Match time is set for 7 p.m., from the Holmes Center in Boone, NC.
UNCG def. George Washington 25-13,22-25,25-20,23-25,15-8
George Washington (5-4) (Kills-aces-blocks) - STUART, Hannah 16-2-1; MOULT, Liz 9-0-0; YANIGA, Jackie 8-0-1; SYVERSON, Abby 5-0-2; KNOX, MacKenzie 3-0-0; VALENTINE, Alyssa 2-0-3; BUTZ, Katie 1-0-0; CRAMER, Chelsea 0-2-0; ZULANDT, Katie 0-0-1; HILL, Leah 0-1-0; Totals 44-5-6.0. (Assists) - VALENTINE, Alyssa 39. (Dig leaders) - HILL, Leah 20; CRAMER, Chelsea 16; STUART, Hannah 13; VALENTINE, Alyssa 11; WRIGHT, Maggie 10
UNCG (7-5) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Branagan Fuller 15-2-1; Luciana Shafer 13-2-5; Kaitlyn Nortz 12-0-6; Kayren Finney 8-0-9; Caley Redden 4-0-4; Emily Lindborg 3-0-0; Kimiko Naito 2-1-0; Billi Baker 2-0-4; Alissa Beaudway 1-0-3; Catherine Hanners 0-4-0; Totals 60-9-16.5. (Assists) - Kimiko Naito 25; Lisa Fawell 20. (Dig leaders) – Catherine Hanners 22; Branagan Fuller 19; Luciana Shafer 15; Kimiko Naito 9
UNCG def. UMBC 25-23,25-21,25-21
UNCG (8-5) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Kayren Finney 11-0-3; Kaitlyn Nortz 11-0-7; Branagan Fuller 5-0-0; Luciana Shafer 4-0-4; Billi Baker 2-0-1; Alissa Beaudway 2-0-2; Lisa Fawell 1-0-0; Catherine Hanners 0-2-0; Totals 36-2-10.0. (Assists) - Lisa Fawell 18; Kimiko Naito 13. (Dig leaders) - Catherine Hanners 20; Branagan Fuller 16; Luciana Shafer 11
UMBC (9-5) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Oscars, Ashley 9-0-3; Lang, Alyssa 8-0-1; Scheetz, Bridget 7-0-2; Joy, Sarah 6-0-1; Hill, Sarah 3-0-3; Spaay, Alexandria 1-0-1; Ball, Sarah 1-1-0; Giles, Kira 1-2-0; Jarrett, Pam 0-1-0; Totals 36-4-6.0. (Assists) - Spaay, Alexandria 20. (Dig leaders) - Jarrett, Pam 18; Lang, Alyssa 14
- UNCG -