UNCG volleyball sweeps into SoCon semis
GREENSBORO, NC – UNC Greensboro's volleyball team eased past Georgia Southern in three sets Friday, 25-21, 25-23, 25-16, to advance to Saturday's semifinal round of the Southern Conference volleyball tournament at Fleming Gymnasium.
UNCG's Kaitlyn Nortz was the only player on either side to reach double figures in kills, as she finished with 11. Branagan Fuller and Kayren Finney had nine and eight kills for UNCG (23-9), respectively. Catherine Hanners had 15 digs for the Spartans, while Lisa Fawell had 18 assists.
The Eagles (16-18) were led offensively by Hayli Ketner, who had nine kills and 11 digs. Mae Chabra had a match-high 28 assists.
The Spartans, the second seed in the SoCon's North Division, survived a pair of Eagle rallies in the first and second sets before finishing the job with little trouble in the third set over the South's No. 3 seed.
The first set wasn't exactly an offensive clinic, as UNCG hit .129 and Georgia Southern hit .086, but it was not without excitement. Neither team could get any separation early, but the Eagles took a 12-11 lead on a UNCG service error. That would be the last time the Spartans trailed in the set, as a Nortz kill ignited a 6-1 run that seemed to put UNCG in control at 17-13. The Eagles had other plans, however, clawing back to 21-20 and tying the set on a UNCG attack error. Three straight errors from Georgia Southern gave UNCG set point, and Fuller's ace closed out the set.
Set two saw UNCG jump out to a 5-0 lead behind a pair of Fuller kills, but GSU again refused to go quietly, working its way back to a 12-11 deficit. After Fuller and Ketner traded kills to make it 13-12, Nortz started another quick 4-0 run that gave UNCG some breathing room. The Eagles' Parker Small had a kill and an ace to get the GSU offense in gear, and Georgia Southern made it a one-point set at 19-18. The teams traded points until the Eagles tied it at 23 on a Bethany Sanford kill, but a GSU service error and a kill from Alissa Beaudway put UNCG in the driver's seat with a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
The Spartans wrapped things up quickly in set three, racing out to an 11-3 lead and never looking back. Finney had four kills in the set as the Spartans hit a healthy .440 in the third frame.
UNCG hit .240 for the match, while Georgia Southern's offense turned in a .144 mark.
"It wasn't pretty," UNCG coach Shawn Garus said, "but it's all about advancing, so I'm pleased."
UNCG will take on South Division No. 1 seed College of Charleston, a 3-1 winner over Elon on Friday, in Saturday's 4 p.m. semifinal match. Furman (No. 2 seed in the South) and Samford (No. 1 seed in the North) will square off in the top half of the bracket at 2 p.m. for the right to advance to Sunday's championship match.
UNCG def. Georgia Southern 25-21,25-23,25-16
Georgia Southern (16-18 (9-9 SoCon)) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Hayli Ketner 9-0-1; Bethany Sanford 8-0-0; Parker Small 5-1-1; Lauren Claybaugh 5-0-2; Michelle Uzoh 3-0-1; Christy Dowd 2-0-0; Mae Chabra 0-0-1; Totals 32-1-4.0. (Assists) - Mae Chabra 28. (Dig leaders) - Kristin Haines 12; Hayli Ketner 11
UNCG (23-9 (14-4 SoCon)) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Kaitlyn Nortz
11-1-3; Branagan Fuller 9-1-0; Kayren Finney 8-0-1; Caley Redden
5-1-2; Billi Baker 3-0-1; Alissa Beaudway 2-0-1; Kimiko Naito
0-1-0; Lisa Fawell 0-1-0; Catherine Hanners 0-2-0; Totals 38-7-4.0.
(Assists) - Lisa Fawell 18; Kimiko Naito 15. (Dig leaders) -
Catherine Hanners 15; Caley Redden 6
Site: Greensboro, N.C. (Fleming Gymnasium)
Date: Nov 21, 2008 Attend: 625 Time: 1:22
Referees: Peggy Schaefer, Kevin Wendelboe
UNCG advances to SoCon semifinals