UNCG nets 20th win, sweeps Wofford
SPARTANBURG, SC – UNC Greensboro hit .341
for the match and Branagan Fuller had 15 kills and 12 digs as the
Spartans won their 20th match of the season, sweeping Wofford in
three sets, 25-20, 25-12, 25-23, in Southern Conference volleyball
action Sunday afternoon.
The victory raised UNCG's mark to 20-9 on the season, giving the Spartans their third consecutive 20-win season, a first for the program since the early 1990s. UNCG moved to 12-4 in league play with its fifth-straight win and kept pace with Chattanooga for second place in the league. Chattanooga, which swept Western Carolina on Sunday, visits UNCG on Friday.
The Spartans hit better than .400 in both of the first two sets on Sunday, recording 38 kills and six errors in 73 attempts to all but end Wofford's hopes for a Southern Conference Tournament bid. Fuller hit .375 for the match, while Kayren Finney hit .524 for the day with 13 kills. Kaitlyn Nortz added 10 kills, hitting .381.
The Terriers (15-16, 5-11) will need to win twice next week, beating Davidson once in the process, and hope that the Wildcats lose their other match with Furman on Saturday, as well. Wofford would hold the tiebreaker with Davidson at that point.
In the opening set, UNCG broke open a 5-5 tie with a 10-2 run to take the set going away. Nortz and Finney each tallied seven of their kills in the opening set. Another big run gave UNCG an easy time in the second set as the Spartans broke a 3-3 tie with a 15-6 run to take an 18-9 lead on their way to a 13-point win in the set. As UNCG had just two errors in the set, it was the fifth time UNCG has won a set by double figures in the last five matches.
Wofford kept things much closer in the third set, regrouping during the intermission. The Terriers had an early 8-3 lead after a Shanna Hughes kill. But UNCG came all the way back to take a 12-11 lead following a Billi Baker kill the capped a run of four consecutive points. The erased Wofford's final lead of the day as UNCG went on to win the set, 25-23.
UNCG won 20 or more matches in eight consecutive seasons from 1988 through 1995 during its rise from Division III to Division I status. That is the last time the Spartans had three or more straight 20-win campaigns. The 12 wins in conference play equal a school record dating back to 1984 when the squad went a perfect 12-0 in Dixie Conference play. UNCG was 11-7 in Southern Conference action last season.
UNCG def. Wofford 25-20, 25-12, 25-23
UNCG (20-9, 12-4 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Kayren Finney 13-0-4; Branagan Fuller 12-0-1; Kaitlyn Nortz 10-0-1; Caley Redden 8-1-1; Alissa Beaudway 4-0-1; Billi Baker 4-0-2; Emily Lindborg 1-0-1; Luciana Shafer 1-0-1; Kimiko Naito 1-3-0; Totals 54-4-6.0. (Assists) - Kimiko Naito 23; Lisa Fawell 21. (Dig leaders) - Catherine Hanners 17; Branagan Fuller 15.
Wofford (15-16, 5-11 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Stacy Byrd 7-0-1; Shanna Hughes 6-1-0; Lindsey Richardson 6-0-0; Liz Sheets 4-0-0; Catelyn Amende 4-1-1; Anna Gustafson 1-0-2; Joanna Suddath 1-1-1; Carolyn Rivers 0-2-0; Totals 29-5-3.0. (Assists) - Joanna Suddath 23. (Dig leaders) - Brittany Thompson 24; Joanna Suddath 6.