Seahawks Pound Panthers In Season Opener
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Junior Christi Laite and sophomore Morgan Kline posted 12 and 10 kills, respectively, to lead UNCW to a 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-16) victory over High Point in collegiate volleyball action in the Courtyard Wilmington Beach Bash Friday at Hanover Hall. The contest served as the season opener for both programs.
Both teams return to action Saturday at the Courtyard Wilmington Beach Bash. High Point faces LIU Brooklyn at 10:30 a.m. before UNCW takes on Delaware State at 1 p.m. High Point and Delaware State return to the court at 5 p.m. while UNCW and LIU Brooklyn close out the tournament with a 7:30 p.m. contest.
Laite and Kline highlighted a UNCW lineup that combined for a .286 hitting percentage for the match. Senior setter Natalie LaHaie dished out a match-high 33 assists to quarterback a balanced Seahawks attack that saw five players record more four kills or more. Senior Jennifer Mallard pitched in seven spikes while sophomore McKenzie Keightley notched six kills on nine attempts for a .667 attack clip.
Defensively, Mallard posted a game-high 12 digs while Laite added 10 to finish with a double-double. Freshman libero Lindsay Hartmann tallied nine digs in her collegiate debut.
Senior Courtney Johnk posted 12 kills and sophomore Chelsea Davis added eight for High Point, who was limited to a .131 hitting percentage for the contest, including a (-.029) clip in the second frame. Sophomore Maddie Simpson dished out 26 assists and added nine digs while Davis posted a team-high 10 bumps for the Panthers.
In an opening set that featured a total of nine ties and three lead changes, UNCW took advantage of a 5-2 spurt late in the frame to break open an 18-all tie and take a 24-20 lead. High Point responded with three straight points to pull within one, 24-23, but a kill by Laite, one of seven for the Severna Park, Md., product in the first set, gave the Seahawks a 25-23 victory.
Game two saw UNCW use a 15-3 run to erase a 4-0 deficit and build a commanding 15-7 cushion midway through the frame as it cruised to a 25-17 victory.
The Seahawks maintained their momentum in the third set as they never trailed in the decisive frame. UNCW opened up a quick 7-3 advantage before using a 9-4 run later in the frame to take its largest lead of the set, 23-14. The two sides then traded points before a Panthers attack error gave the Seahawks a 25-16 victory and the match.