Spartans overcome Elon in five sets, keep postseason hopes alive
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Luciana Shafer had 17 kills and Caley Redden delivered 4 of her 16 kills in the critical fifth set as UNC Greensboro defeated backyard rival Elon, 3-2, on Wednesday evening in Alumni Gym. With the win, the Spartans moved into a tie for second place in the North Division with Elon, although UNCG holds the tiebreaker by sweeping the Phoenix in their two meetings this season.
The Spartans improved to 16-12 on the year and 8-5 in the Southern Conference. Elon fell to 21-6 this season and 8-5 on the year.
"Tonight was another hard fought war with Elon, the second time this season that we have gone to the limit with them," said head coach Patrick Nicholas. "We really cut down on our errors tonight and I was real happy with the way we stayed together as a team. Tonight was a real team win."
In addition to their kills, Shafer and Redden both had double-doubles as they recorded 12 and 14 digs, respectively. It was Redden's team-leading 12th double-double of the year. Catherine Hanners also had a double-double with 20 assists and 18 digs and Kayren Finney had a match-high nine blocks.
After the Phoenix forced a fifth set, the Spartans came out in the final set on fire as Shafer delivered back-to-back kills to give UNCG an early 2-0 lead. The Spartans extended their lead to 5-1, which forced Elon to call a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, UNCG picked up where it left off and Redden scored three consecutive kills to extend the Spartan lead to 9-3. UNCG had match point at 14-8 on a kill by Shafer and she then delivered a service ace to give the Spartans the set, 15-8, and the victory.
The two sides opened the match by trading points early in the first set. Trailing 12-11, UNCG went on a 7-0 run capped off by a Shafer kill to take a commanding 18-12 lead. The Phoenix fought back to within 24-21, but Redden delivered her fourth kill of the set to give the Spartans the first set, 25-21.
The second set saw the two teams once again in a tight battle as neither side had more than a two point until the very end of the set. With the score knotted at 19, Lauren Copenhagen delivered a kill to give the Phoenix the late lead. The Spartans pulled within 22-21 on a block by Finney and Billi Baker, but a kill by Traci Stewart and back-to-back kills by Jessica Barrow gave Elon the set, 25-21, and knotted the team score at 1 going into the break.
The Spartans made a switch at the setter position during the break and Hanners moved from libero to setter. UNCG used its defense and serving in the set to make the transition easier. The Spartans had five team blocks in the set and four service aces, all by Hanners during an 8-0 run midway through the set that gave UNCG a 19-13 lead. Shafer's fourth kill of the set gave the Spartans the set, 25-17, and a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth set.
The Phoenix responded by taking an early 6-1 lead in the fourth set on a kill by Mandy Wilson. The Spartans pulled within 11-10 on another kill by Redden, but pulled ahead 15-11 on Copenhagen's kill by take control of the set. UNCG was never able to regain the lead as Elon won the set, 25-19.
Next up for UNCG will be a match against South Division leader Furman on Friday at 7 p.m. in Fleming Gymnasium. The match marks Senior Day for three special seniors, Catherine Hanners, Kayleigh Knerr and Emily Lindborg.
UNC Greensboro def. Elon: 25-21, 21-25, 25-17, 19-25, 15-8
UNC Greensboro (16-12, 8-5 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Luciana Shafer 17-1-2; Caley Redden 16-0-2; Billi Baker 10-0-5; Kayren Finney 7-0-9; Emily Lindborg 6-0-1; Ari Lysacek 3-0-0; Catherine Hanners 1-4-0; Kayleigh Knerr 0-2-0; Totals 60-7-10.0. (Assists) - Ari Lysacek 27; Catherine Hanners 20. (Dig leaders) - Catherine Hanners 18; Kayleigh Knerr 16; Caley Redden 14; Luciana Shafer 12
Elon (21-6, 8-5 SoCon) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Caroline Lemke 14-0-3; Jessica Barrow 13-0-0; Lauren Copenhagen 9-2-1; Sarah Schermerhorn 8-0-2; Traci Stewart 7-0-2; Mandy Wilson 4-0-1; Emily Regan 2-0-1; Megan McMahon 1-0-0; Lizzie West 0-3-0; Totals 58-5-5.0. (Assists) - Emily Regan 27; Megan McMahon 18. (Dig leaders) - Ali Deatsch 16; Emily Regan 10; Traci Stewart 8; Lauren Copenhagen 8
Site: Elon, N.C. (Alumni Gym)
Date: Nov 04, 2009 Attend: 207 Time: 2:11
Referees: Tad Watson, Wade Brence
- UNCG -