September 20, 2012
Volleyball Staves Off Elon 3-2 In SoCon Opener
UNCG 3, Elon 2 (PDF)
ELON, N.C. – After taking the first two sets of its Southern Conference opener at Elon, UNCG was forced to a deciding frame but emerged victorious inside Alumni Gym Thursday night. The Spartans improve to 6-6 overall while the Phoenix drop to 7-9.
UNCG hit .219 in the match with 60 kills while limiting Elon to a .194 performance, including .056 in the fifth set. The Spartans also outdug the Phoenix by a large margin (78-59). Elon got the best of the blocking at 8.0 to 3.0.
UNCG jumped out to an 8-4 lead on an attack error by Elon's Chanelle Smith. The Phoenix did not go away however, rallying to tie the score at 13 on a Smith kill. It was then the Spartans' turn to respond as they scored four of the next five points to push in front by three. The advantage ballooned to 22-17 when Humphries put down a kill, but the home side stormed back and pulled within 24-22 before Santiago ended things with a kill from the back row.
Santiago racked up eight digs in the set while Chambers did not commit an error offensively. She recorded five kills on 12 attempts with no errors for a .417 hitting mark. As a team, UNCG outhit Elon .205-.054 while the Phoenix held a slim advantage in digs by an 18-16 count.
It was Elon which took control in the second interval as it assumed a 9-7 lead on a Megan Gravley kill. The Spartans answered with two straight kills before eventually taking the upper hand at 17-15 on a nice dump down into the middle of the Phoenix defense. The cushion stretched to 22-19 on a ball-handling error by the Elon setter and that would be all UNCG needed to close down the home side and win the second frame by a 25-21 score.
The Spartans asserted themselves offensively, hitting .324 in the interval while also out-digging the hosts 19-12. Humphries and Harley put down four kills in the set each to pace the UNCG hitters.
The Spartans grabbed a quick 4-2 advantage in the third set on a kill by Humphries. However, a bad set by McMurtrey capped an 8-3 run for the Phoenix to give them a 10-7 lead. UNCG was able to cut the deficit down to one at 19-18, but only scored once more in the set as Elon stayed alive in the match with a 25-19 win. It was a reversal of fortunes offensively in the frame as the Spartans fired at zero percent while the Phoenix hit .257.
Elon stayed in front for most of the fourth set before UNCG rallied to take a 16-14 lead. The Phoenix responded, however, and moved in front 22-19 on a Gravley kill. The Spartans could not muster a rally as Elon sent the match to a deciding set by a 25-22 score. Both teams hit well in the frame with UNCG firing at .353 with 14 kills and the home team hitting .318 with 18 kills.
The teams battled at the beginning of the fifth and it was the Phoenix that grabbed an 8-7 lead at the switch. However, the home side would score just one more point as some fine serving allowed the Spartans to end the match on an 8-1 run and take home the victory.
UNCG returns home Saturday night for a Southern Conference matchup with The Citadel at 7 p.m.
- UNCG -