Volleyball Overpowers Chattanooga, 3-1
GREENSBORO, N.C. – In front of a raucous and season-best crowd of 627 at Fleming Gymnasium Saturday night, the UNCG volleyball team raced past Chattanooga 3-1 in a Southern Conference matchup.
"This was a great match," head coach Patrick Nicholas said. "Chattanooga really came to play and I knew they would after a tough loss last night. I can't say enough about the crowd tonight. The pep band was awesome and it was great to see a lot of the other teams come out and support us.
"I was really proud of the way our upperclassmen carried us tonight. Our two defensive specialists are doing an awesome job as well. Morgan (Freeman) really stepped up tonight and Olivia (Humphries) is just so consistent lately. We have some more work to do as a team but things are really starting to come together at the right time."
The Spartans' defense pulled the team through many times as UNCG (9-8, 4-2) racked up a season-best 94 digs, including a Spartan season-high 33 by junior libero Kellie Orewiler. There were three other UNCG players in double figures in junior Olivia Humphries (16), sophomore Emily McMurtrey (13) and junior Morgan Freeman (10). All three posted double-doubles with Humphries putting down 17 kills, McMurtrey adding 52 assists and Freeman posting a career-high nine blocks. She fell just one block short of a triple-double while hitting .444 in the four sets. Additionally, junior Karrian Chambers knocked down a match-best 19 kills on 52 swings.
It was a mediocre hitting night for both squads as UNCG produced a .141 mark while limiting the Mocs to just .056. The Spartans also held the upper hand in kills (59), service aces (4-2), digs (94-66) and total blocks (12.0-10.0). UNCG sided out well in first and fourth sets at 89 and 70 percent respectively (64 percent overall) while holding Chattanooga (8-13, 2-4) to a 52-percent overall sideout performance.
Freeman put down four kills in the first 10 points of the first set to give UNCG a 7-3 lead. The advantage grew to 11-7 and 15-11 before the Mocs' head coach Travis Filar saw enough and called a timeout. The Spartans were able to keep Chattanooga at bay and led by no less than four the rest of the set as a Christina Teter attack error ended the frame in the Spartans' favor at 25-19.
UNCG scored the first two points of the second interval on a Chambers kill and Moc attack error, but Chattanooga was able to fight back and tie the set at six. The Mocs scored five of the next six points on the serving of Bridget Camacho to assume an 11-7 cushion – prompting a timeout from the Spartan bench. A Heather Parman kill kept the momentum on Chattanooga's side as the Mocs built an 18-12 edge. However, UNCG battled back and drew within 22-21, capping a 9-3 run. The Spartans fell behind 24-21 when Kasey Talley posted a kill, but UNCG was able to scrap for points and tied the frame at 24 when Freeman and Humphries teamed up for a block. A Teter block put the Mocs in front 25-24 before Chattanooga eventually took the 28-26 victory and tied the match at one set apiece.
The Mocs were the aggressors out of the intermission, pushing in front 5-2 and forcing a Spartan timeout. UNCG fell behind 8-3 and 12-7 before a 6-1 run pulled the Spartans even with the visitors. A Chambers attack error afforded Chattanooga a 15-13 cushion, but the Spartans scored six of the next 10 points to knot the score at 19. A Talley service error and UNCG block then gave the home team all it needed to overtake the Mocs and score a 25-20 third-frame win.
The fourth interval began with the teams tied at four before a Talley attack error capped a 5-2 run for UNCG and made the score 9-6. Chattanooga was able to draw within one at 12-11 but three-straight points by the Spartans stretched their lead to 15-11. UNCG stayed ahead by three before a Heather Parman kill cut the advantage to 18-16, but the Spartans buckled down and allowed the Mocs just two more points. A kill by freshman Katherine Santiago from the back row gave UNCG match point, bringing the boisterous UNCG fans to their feet before a Talley attack error ended the contest to the delight of the crowd.
The Spartans close a three-match homestand Tuesday, Oct. 9 as UNCG welcomes Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponent South Carolina State to Fleming Gymnasium. First serve is set for 6 p.m.
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