GREENSBORO, N.C. – After the Gold Team captured two close sets to begin the 2012 UNCG Blue-Gold Match, the Blue squad rallied to win the final frames to forge a 2-2 final score Friday night inside Fleming Gymnasium. The contest served as the Spartans' final tuneup before the regular season begins next Friday at the North Carolina Central Volleyball Invitational.
Redshirt Junior Olivia Humphries led all players with 19 kills on 55 attempts with just eight errors to post a .200 hitting percentage. UNCG's two liberos, junior Kellie Orewiler and freshman Katherine Santiago, tallied a combined 57 digs while playing for both sides. Additionally, senior setter Ari Lysacek racked up 43 assists in the four sets for an average of 10.75 per frame and completed a double-double by recording 11 kills.
"Playing tonight was the best feeling I've had in a while," Humphries said. "Coming into the gym and seeing the lights on, watching the net being set up and hearing the music play was really exciting since I had to sit out last season. It crushed me to sit on the sidelines so I am really anxious for the season to start."
Between the squads, the Spartans produced 143 digs and 97 kills as well as 11 total blocks.
With the score tied at 11 in the first set, Gold put together a 4-0 run capped off by a Vicky Harley attack error to force a Blue timeout. Blue would eventually tie the frame at 20, however, junior Karrian Chambers misfired a few plays later to give Gold its first set point. The teams went back and forth until two kills by freshmen Lauren Betlach and Julia Westerbur allowed Gold to clinch the set by a 28-26 score.
Gold jumped out to a 6-1 advantage in the second frame, but a Westerbur block error ended an 8-4 run which drew Blue to within 10-9. A Betlach kill pushed Gold ahead 21-15, drawing a timeout from the Blue bench. The respite proved effective as former Spartan Ariel Newman put down a kill to make it a 23-22 Gold lead. Humphries responded with a kill of her own on the next play, however, allowing Gold to take the only set point it would need as Newman's attack error would end the interval at 25-22.
Lysacek changed jerseys from Gold to Blue for the final two sets and she propelled her team to an 11-2 advantage to begin the frame. Gold attempted to rally, but could get no closer than eight the rest of the way as Blue cruised to the 25-13 set victory.
Gold edged out to a 10-7 lead in the final interval, but could not sustain it as Blue went on a 5-1 run and used a Humphries attack error to push in front by one. After a Gold timeout, Blue kept the pressure on and raced out to a 16-11 advantage as Chambers posted a kill. Gold tried to rally for the final time, but after Harley's attack error made the score 21-17, Blue scored four of the last five points to close the match.
The Spartans open the regular season next Friday, Aug. 24, as they travel to Durham for the North Carolina Central Volleyball Invitational. UNCG plays two matches on Friday, battling the host Eagles at noon before facing off against Big South preseason favorite Liberty at 3:30 p.m. The Spartans will close the tournament Saturday at 11 a.m. against Hampton.
- UNCG -