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UNCW Earns Split At Deacon Invitational

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications  
Release: 09/01/2012
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Senior Jennifer Mallard was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Deacon Invitational after recording 34 kills in the Seahawks two matches on Saturday
View larger Courtesy: Joe Browning

Senior Jennifer Mallard was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Deacon Invitational after recording 34 kills in the Seahawks two matches on Saturday

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina - Senior Jennifer Mallard posted 14 kills and fashioned a .321 hitting percentage to lead UNCW to a 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 27-25) sweep of Winthrop in collegiate volleyball action at the Deacon Invitational Saturday at Reynolds Gym.

The Seahawks were unable to complete the sweep of its Saturday matches at the Deacon Invitational, falling to state foe Davidson, 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 30-28, 25-15), in the nightcap. UNCW, who moved to 4-3 on the season with the split, returns to action Sept. 7 when it takes on Stetson (Noon) and Rutgers (4:30 p.m.) in first-day action in the Spartan Classic at Norfolk State.

"This isn't the outcome we set out for this weekend, but I feel we learned a lot from our first road trip," said UNCW Head Coach Amy Bambenek. "We played steady and strong against Winthrop but allowed too many hitting errors against Davidson. Jennifer (Mallard) had an outstanding day today in both matches and I was pleased to see her elevate her game."

Against Winthrop, Mallard's 14 kills and .321 hitting percentage led a UNCW attack that combined for 41 kills and a .228 attack clip in the sweep. Junior Christi Laite joined Mallard in double-figure kills with 10 while sophomores Morgan Kline and McKenzie Keightley added seven and five spikes, respectively. Freshman setter Victoria Phillips dished out 34 assists.

Defensively, junior Haley Collins recorded a match-best 15 digs while Laite, Keightley and freshman Meredith Peacock all notched four total blocks each to power a Seahawks effort at the net that recorded eight total blocks for the match.

Sophomore Jennica Mullins tallied seven kills while freshmen Rachel Lenz and Amy Zimmer added six spikes apiece for Winthrop. Zimmer also added eight total blocks and junior Stephanie Palmer chipped in five rejections to lead an Eagles frontline that finished with nine total blocks.

The first set saw UNCW fall behind early as Winthrop scored eight of 11 points to break a 2-all tie and build a 10-5 advantage. The Eagles held a 17-15 lead later in the frame when a Winthrop attack error sparked the Seahawks to a 10-3 run and a 25-20 victory.

In the second set, UNCW held a 12-10 lead midway through the frame when a kill by Laite sent the Seahawks on a 9-1 run that gave them a 21-11 cushion. The Eagles made one last push, rattling off five straight points to pull within seven, but an Eagles service error ended the spurt and gave UNCW a 25-17 victory.

In a third set that featured a total of seven ties and five lead changes, UNCW tallied five unanswered points to build a 19-14 lead. The Seahawks would maintain their advantage until Winthrop notched five of six points to take a 24-23 edge. The two teams then proceeded to trade points until, with the score tied at 25-all, a service ace by Laite and a kill by Mallard gave UNCW a 27-25 victory and the match.

Mallard continued her solid play against the Wildcats, recording 20 kills and a .310 hitting percentage while Laite tallied nine kills and Kline added seven. Phillips dished out 22 assists and senior Natalie LaHaie finished with 18. Collins notched a match-high 15 digs and Peacock tallied six total blocks to highlight the Seahawks defensive efforts.

 Juniors Taylor Pisel and Caroline Brown tallied 18 and 15 kills, respectively, to power the Davidson attack while senior setter Ariel Ley dished out a match-best 46 assists. Senior Molly Crenshaw tallied a team-best 13 digs and Brown finished with 12 bumps to record the double-double.  

The first set saw UNCW record a 25-19 victory, racing out to an early 4-1 lead before using a 7-3 spurt to grow a 14-11 advantage into a 21-14 cushion on its way to the six-point triumph.

Davidson rallied for a 25-20 victory in the second set, breaking open a 12-all deadlock with a 12-4 stretch to take a 24-16 lead. The Seahawks scored the next four points of the frame to make it 24-20, but a kill by Chamberlin gave the Wildcats the set and evened the match at 1-all.

UNCW took a quick 5-1 lead in the third set and held a 20-17 lead late in the frame when Davidson scored four of the next five points to tie the match at 21-all. The two sides then proceeded to trade points until, with the score deadlocked at 28-all, a kill by Brown and a UNCW attack error gave the Wildcats a 30-28 triumph.

Davidson carried its momentum into the fourth set, breaking open a 12-8 contest with nine straight points to take a 21-8 lead and cruise to a 25-15 victory and the match.  

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