Spartans take nailbiter from Cougars, win 3-2
GREENSBORO, NC – Trailing 2-1 in the match, UNC Greensboro came back to win the final two sets and defeat College of Charleston, 3-2, Sunday at Fleming Gymnasium. Set scores were 20-25, 25-19, 25-27, 31-29, 16-14.
UNCG improves its record to 13-7 on the season and 5-2 in Southern Conference play. College of Charleston, who won its last seven matches, fell to 12-6 overall and 5-1 in the SoCon.
The win also marks UNCG's first victory over the Cougars since topping them, 3-1, on Nov. 11, 2006 at Fleming Gymnasium.
Junior Branagan Fuller and sophomore Kayren Finney each had a team-high 13 kills, while senior Kaitlyn Nortz chipped in with 12. Fuller also had 19 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. Sophomore Billi Baker hit a team-best .259, making a career-high 10 kills off 27 total attacks and committing three errors. Sophomore Kimiko Naito and junior Lisa Fawell recorded 26 and 24 assists, respectively. Defensively, junior Catherine Hanners totaled a team-high 22 digs. Nortz had a season-best nine total blocks, including one solo and eight block assist.
Three Cougars posted double-doubles. Ginny Phillips had a match-high 19 kills and 16 digs, while Emily Sawin had a 16-kill, 13-dig double-double. Meanwhile, Cole Dawley recorded a 57-assist, 13-dig double-double. Elyse Chubb hit a match-best .333, making 15 kills of 30 total attacks with five errors. Emily Shelton had a match-high 24 digs.
In the first set, UNCG maintained the lead until a pair of College of Charleston runs allowed the Cougars to take the lead. With UNCG up 8-4, the Cougars used three UNCG attack errors and a kill from Sawin to even the match at 8-all. After a College of Charleston attack error gave UNCG the one-point edge, a kill from Phillips started a five-point run to put the Cougars up 13-9. Although the Spartans pulled to within two on three occasions, College of Charleston used a pair of three-point runs to increase its lead. The first three-point run came as Chubb had a kill and UNCG committed straight attacking errors to make it 18-13. The Cougars later used their second three-point run to push their lead to seven and hold a 24-17 advantage. Back-to-back Spartan kills from Finney and Baker as well as a service ace by junior Kayleigh Knerr pulled UNCG to within four. However, Phillips notched the set-winning kill to give College of Charleston a 1-0 lead in the match.
UNCG used an early four-point run in the second set to go up 7-4. However, after exchanging points, the Cougars put together their own four-point run in order to go up 10-9. A kill by Naito on the next play tied the set. UNCG got the go-ahead point as Finney and Fuller blocked a Cougar attack, allowing the Spartans to hold an 11-10 edge. From that point, the Spartans did not give up the lead for the remainder of the set. Although the Cougars came to within one on two occasions, UNCG used several pairs of points to gradually increase its cushion. The Spartans ultimately held a six-point, 24-18 advantage as College of Charleston made an error. After a Cougar kill, UNCG got the final point it needed off a College of Charleston miscue in order to take the set and tie the match at 1-1.
In the third set, the Spartans rallied back from a five-point deficit. With the set tied 8-8, a kill by Sarah Havel sparked a five-point run for the Cougars, who went up 13-8. However, UNCG fought back and got two-straight timely kills from Finney to deadlock the set at 19-all. The teams traded points until two College of Charleston errors gave UNCG a 24-23 edge, which was the first lead of the set for the Spartans. UNCG and College of Charleston flip-flopped points again until the Cougars scored the final two of the set and go up 2-1 in the match.
UNCG led by as many as five on four different occasions in the fourth set, but needed to fend off a tough Cougar rally. After a Baker kills gave UNCG the 21-16 advantage, College of Charleston scored six of the next seven points to tie the set at 22-all. A Nortz kill gave UNCG the one-point edge, but the Cougars evened the set with a kill by Sawin. The teams continued to trade points until a kill by Chubb and a block by Havel and Sawin put the Cougars up 28-27. Freshman Luciana Shafer had a kill that tied the set again, but College of Charleston regained its one-point lead will a Sawin kill. However, another Shafer kill evened the set and the Cougars committed straight attacking errors as the Spartans won the set, tied the match up 2-2 and force a deciding fifth set.
College of Charleston opened the fifth set with a three-point run, but the Spartans answered with three-straight points of their own. The teams traded points until a kill by Baker and a Cougar attacking error gave UNCG the 7-6 advantage. However, the Cougars eventually came back as a kill by Phillips sparked a four-point run and gave College of Charleston an 11-8 lead. UNCG fought back and went on to tie the set 12-12 with a Hanners service ace. After the teams exchanged service errors, Baker and Finney stopped a Cougar attack that allowed UNCG to take a 14-13 edge. College of Charleston took advantage of a UNCG error in order to tie the set, but the Cougars committed two straight attacking errors that provided the Spartans with the final two points they needed. On match-point, Baker and Finney came up with another block that allowed the UNCG to win the set and match.
The Spartans play their first of four straight road matches on Friday when UNCG is at Davidson. Match time is set for 5:30 p.m. from Belk Arena.
UNC Greensboro def. College of Charleston 20-25,25-19,25-27,31-29,16-14
CofC (12-6, 5-1 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Ginny Phillips 19-0-6; Emily Sawin 16-2-4; Elyse Chubb 15-0-1; Sarah Havel 7-0-9; Katie Robinson 3-0-1; Whitney Russell 2-0-0; Cole Dawley 1-0-0; Emily Shelton 0-1-0; Totals 63-3-12.0. (Assists) - Cole Dawley 57. (Dig leaders) - Emily Shelton 24; Ginny Phillips 16; Hayley Harrell 13; Emily Sawin 13; Cole Dawley 13; Paige Johnson 8
UNCG (13-7, 5-2 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Branagan Fuller 13-0-5; Kayren Finney 13-0-5; Kaitlyn Nortz 12-0-9; Billi Baker 10-0-5; Alissa Beaudway 7-0-4; Luciana Shafer 3-1-1; Clara Tse 1-1-0; Kimiko Naito 1-2-0; Kayleigh Knerr 0-1-0; Lisa Fawell 0-1-0; Catherine Hanners 0-3-0; Totals 60-9-15.5. (Assists) - Kimiko Naito 26; Lisa Fawell 24. (Dig leaders) - Catherine Hanners 22; Branagan Fuller 19; Clara Tse 12; Luciana Shafer 8
- UNCG -