STATESBORO, GA – UNC Greensboro won its
fourth straight match and in the process snapped Georgia
Southern's five-match winning streak with a three-set sweep,
25-12, 25-19 and 25-22, in Southern Conference volleyball action
Kayren Finney led the way for the Spartans (15-7, 7-2 SoCon) with 12 kills. She hit .632 for the match as UNCG won for the fourth straight time over the Eagles, three of those coming in Statesboro. Branagan Fuller added seven kills and 10 digs.
Christy Dowd had nine kills for Georgia Southern (12-12, 6-4 SoCon). The Eagles had won five straight after starting league play 0-3.
UNCG set the tone right from the outset. The Spartans jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first set with Finney coming up with a pair of kills in the run. A Georgia Southern timeout settled things down for a while. However, leading 18-12, the Spartans ran off the last seven points to claim the opening set, 25-12.
The Spartans jumped out early in the second set, as well, scoring five of the first seven points. The Eagles got back to within two at 15-13 following an attack error by Fuller. But the Spartans held fast from there. Conseutive kills by Fuller and Kaitlyn Nortz gave UNCG a 20-15 lead. The Eagles got back to within three at 22-19 following a kill by Dowd. But following a UNCG timeout, the Spartans scored three straight points to take the second set.
The Eagles regrouped in the intermission and hung tough early in the third. Consecutive points had the Eagles within two, 9-7, following an attack error by Nortz. But UNCG scored five of the next seven points, capped off by a Finney kill – one of six she had in the third set – to take a 14-9 lead. Georgia Southern responded with a 5-2 run of its own, capped off by Lauren Claybaugh's kill, and it looked like the momentum might just shift in the Eagles' favor.
But a service error and consecutive attack errors by the Eagles resulted in three consecutive UNCG points and a 19-14 advantage. The Eagles climbed back to within 23-21, but Finney's 11th and 12th kills of the night closed it out for a 25-22 win and UNCG's seventh three-set sweep of the season.
The win clinched UNCG's third straight season of 15 or more wins, marking a first for the program since the mid 1990s. UNCG last won 15 or more matches in three straight years from 1993-95.
UNCG concludes its four-match road swing with a huge weekend beginning Saturday. UNCG visits Chattanooga on Saturday, which trails the Spartans by a game in the Southern Conference's North Division standings, and Samford on Sunday, which leads the Spartans by a game in the SoCon North Division standings.
UNCG def. Georgia Southern 25-12, 25-19, 25-22
UNCG (15-7, 7-2 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Kayren Finney 12-0-5; Luciana Shafer 8-1-5; Kaitlyn Nortz 7-0-3; Branagan Fuller 7-2-0; Billi Baker 2-0-2; Alissa Beaudway 2-0-1; Kimiko Naito 0-1-0; Catherine Hanners 0-1-0; Totals 38-5-8.0. (Assists) - Kimiko Naito 16; Lisa Fawell 13. (Dig leaders) - Catherine Hanners 13; Branagan Fuller 10; Kayleigh Knerr 8; Luciana Shafer 8
Georgia Southern (12-12, 6-4 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Christy Dowd 9-0-0; Bethany Sanford 7-1-1; Parker Small 6-3-1; Lauren Claybaugh 4-1-0; Michelle Uzoh 4-0-2; Blaire Brueggemeyer 1-0-0; Hayli Ketner 1-0-0; Totals 32-5-3.0. (Assists) - Mae Chabra 21. (Dig leaders) - Cristin Haines 13; Bethany Sanford 11; Mae Chabra 8
- UNCG -