UNCW Wraps Up HI Invitational With Split
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
CHARLESTON, South Carolina - Junior Jennifer Mallard recorded 13 kills and added 12 digs to lead UNCW to a 3-2 (25-17, 28-26, 23-25, 16-25, 15-11) victory over North Florida in the Hampton Inn Invitational Saturday at TD Arena.
The Seahawks were unable complete the sweep of their Saturday matches, suffering a 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-21) defeat to Texas A&M Corpus- Christi earlier in the day.
The Seahawks moved to 6-9 on the campaign with the split. UNCW returns to the court Sept. 24 when it opens Colonial Athletic Association play with a 2 p.m. matinee at Georgia State.
"The team got off to a slow start againt Texas A&M - Corpus Christi and were never able to gain momentum during the match," said UNCW Head Coach Amy Bambenek. "We used multiple lineups all weekend because we are lacking consistency from our hitters, but I felt we played with more heart and passion against UNF. Jennifer (Mallard) was asked to play multiple positions all weekend and did a great job against UNF tonight as a right side hitter."
Versus North Florida, Mallard was joined in double figures by freshman Morgan Kline, who chipped in 12 spikes. Senior Kelsey Bendig handed out 41 assists and pitched in 10 digs for her third double-double of the tournament. Freshman Sarah Fitzgerald notched nine kills and added a team-high 17 digs while sophomore Haley Collins pitched in 16 digs.
Mallard, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, also had a hand in the Seahawks blocking efforts against the Ospreys as she finished with six total blocks. Senior Emily Mohrman added six total blocks and freshman McKenzie Keightley chipped in five.
Cameron McGuire and Paige Pridgeon recorded 17 and 13 kills, respectively, to lead the Ospreys attck. Britt Claessens dished out 37 assists while Nicole Baran led four North Florida players in double-figure digs with a match-high 21.
UNCW cruised to a 25-17 victory in the opening set, racing out to an early 10-4 lead before using a 7-2 spurt later in the frame to build an 11-point advantage on their way to the eight-point victory.
The second set would be a different story, as the two teams battled back-and-forth through a total of 13 ties and three changes until a kill by Mohrman and an attack error by the Ospreys would break a 26-26 deadlock and give the Seahawks a 28-26 victory.
UNF was able to rally from a two-point deficit late in the third set, scoring five of the last six points of the frame to extend the match with a 25-22 triumph.
The Ospreys carried the momentum into the fourth set, rattling off the first five points of the set on their way to forcing a decisive fifth set with a 25-16 decision.
UNCW regrouped early in the fifth set, scoring the first four points of the frame as it never trailed on its way to a 15-11 victory and the match.
Against Texas A&M Corpus-Christi, freshman Brianna Brink recorded 10 kills and added 10 digs to power a balanced Islanders lineup that featured six players with five or more kills for the match. Sophomores Logen Bourque and Micah Nolan teamed up to quarterback the Islanders to a combined total of 44 kills and a .281 hitting percentage as they handed out 31 and 10 assists, respectively. Nolan also added a team-best 14 digs to record the double-double.
Freshman McKenzie Keighley tallied a team-high 10 kills and freshman Morgan Kline chipped in six for UNCW. Senior Kelsey Bendig dished out 24 assists while sophomore Haley Collins recorded a team-high 12 digs.
The opening set saw UNCW race out to an early 10-4 lead, only to have the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi respond with an 11-3 run to erase the deficit and build a 15-13 advantage. The two sides battled back and forth until, with the score tied at 23-all, a kill from Bourque and a Seahawks attack error gave the Islanders a 25-23 victory.
Trailing 10-9 midway through a second set, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi rattled off five unanswered points to take a 14-10 lead and spark a 16-5 run that closed out the frame and gave the Islanders a 25-15 decision.
In a back-and-forth third set that featured a total of 11 ties and six lead changes, both sides were tied at 21-all late in the frame, when back-to-back attack errors by the Seahawks sparked the Islanders to a 4-0 run and a 25-21 triumph.