GREENSBORO, NC – UNC Greensboro was unable to withstand Furman's rally as the Spartans fell to the Paladins 3-2 in Southern Conference action on Friday night at Fleming Gymnasium. Set scores were 23-25, 25-18, 25-19, 21-25, 16-18.
Junior Branagan Fuller posted a match-high 25 kills and added 17 digs. Sophomore Kimiko Naito had a career-high 36 assists. Junior Catherine Hanners recorded a match-high 21 digs.
The Paladins got 13 kills and 16 digs from Alison West. Alexis Shaffer hit a match-best .526 with 11 kills off 19 total attacks and one error, while Nicole Palazzo hit .375 with 12 kills off 32 total attacks with no errors.
Although Furman maintained the led throughout much of the first set, UNCG kept fighting back. The Spartans tied the set on six different occasions as the Paladins' largest lead was three. With Furman up 16-15, West had back-to-back kills to make it 18-15. UNCG answered with three-straight points of its own to even the set. The teams exchanged points until kills from Fuller and sophomore Alissa Beaudway gave the Spartans a 22-21 lead. However, Furman used a three-point run to score four of the set's final five points in order to win the set.
The Spartans rebounded in the second set. After Furman scored the set's first point, UNCG had the next three to take the early 3-1 advantage. UNCG did not relinquish its lead during the set, using multiple runs to pull away from the Paladins. The Spartans eventually got its largest lead of the set as senior Kaitlyn Nortz had a kill to make it an eight-point, 16-8 set. Furman gradually trimmed UNCG's lead half to make it 18-14, but a kill from sophomore Lisa Fawell and a Paladin miscue pushed the Spartans' advantage to six. The teams traded points until Fawell notched the set-winning kill to even the match at 1-1.
Both teams battled for control throughout the first part of the third set as 12 ties and six lead changes occurred. It was not until midway through the set before the Spartans began to pull away. With Furman up 13-12, two kills from Nortz and an ace from Fuller allowed UNCG to take a 15-13 advantage. The Paladins pulled to within one off a Shaffer kill, but a Beaudway kill sparked a four-point run and made the score 19-14. UNCG eventually made it a six-point, 22-16 set as Furman had an attack error. The Paladins eventually pulled to within four, but the Spartans had three of the set's final four points, including the set-winning kill from sophomore Billi Baker, to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the fourth set, UNCG had to contend with several Furman runs. The Paladins had a six-point run early in the set to hold a 6-1 advantage. Although UNCG eventually tied the set at 7-7 off an Emily Lindborg kill, the Paladins scored eight of the next nine points, using a pair of four-point runs to take a 15-8 advantage. UNCG eventually pulled to within four, but a block assist from West and Palazzo started another Paladin four-point run. Furman used that run to take a 22-16 advantage. However, with the score 24-19, sophomore Kayren Finney and freshman Clara Tse got back-to-back kills, but West tallied the set-winning kill for the Paladins to force a deciding fifth set.
Furman led by as many as six in the fifth set before the Spartans began to rally. UNCG cut the deficit down to three as freshman Luciana Shafer had a kill to make it 11-8 in favor of Furman. However, the Paladins eventually made it a 14-10 set as Katherine Hall and Palazzo combined for a block. With match-point on the line, UNCG scored the next four points to even the set. The Spartans got kills from Finney and Fuller, while two Paladin errors made it 14-14. The teams traded points until Furman got back-to-back kills from Shaffer and West in order to win the match.
UNCG is back in action on Saturday, Oct. 4 when the Spartans host Wofford at Fleming Gymnasium. Match time is set for 2 p.m.
Furman def. UNCG 25-23,18-25,19-25,25-21,18-16
Furman (9-7, 2-1 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Alison West 13-0-6; Nicole Palazzo 12-0-8; Alexis Shaffer 11-0-6; Emily Harby 6-0-0; Katherine Hall 6-0-3; Kelly Kirby 6-2-2; Kelsey Salava 2-2-0; Carolyn Nicoletti 0-2-0; Totals 56-6-16.0. (Assists) - Kelsey Salava 49. (Dig leaders) - Carolyn Nicoletti 17; Alison West 16; Kelly Kirby 15; Brooke Ellison 13
UNCG (10-6, 2-1 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Branagan Fuller 25-2-2; Kayren Finney 14-0-3; Kaitlyn Nortz 9-1-3; Clara Tse 6-0-2; Alissa Beaudway 4-0-1; Billi Baker 3-0-2; Emily Lindborg 2-0-0; Lisa Fawell 2-0-0; Luciana Shafer 1-0-0; Catherine Hanners 0-4-0; Totals 66-7-6.5. (Assists) - Kimiko Naito 36; Lisa Fawell 20. (Dig leaders) – Catherine Hanners 21; Branagan Fuller 17; Clara Tse 13; Lisa Fawell 9; Kimiko Naito 9
- UNCG -