UNCW Splits Matches At Spartan Classic
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
NORFOLK, Virginia - Sophomore Morgan Kline recorded nine kills and junior Christi Laite added eight as UNCW swept Stetson, 3-0 (25-11, 25-8, 25-22) in collegiate volleyball action Friday in the Spartan Classic at Norfolk State.
UNCW was unable to earn a sweep of its two Friday matches, however, as it fell to Rutgers, 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 26-24) in the nightcap.
The Seahawks, who moved to 5-4 on the season with the split, return to action Saturday as they close out their appearance in the Spartan Classic with a 1 p.m. match against host Norfolk State.
"We had a solid match against Stetson and were able to incorporate a lot of players into the lineup," said UNCW Head Coach Amy Bambenek. "It was great to showcase our depth and was happy about the team effort. We struggled early on with Rutgers serves and were not really able to get in rhythm offensively until the third set. There is always something to be learned with each loss. I know the team will be ready to bounce back tomorrow against Norfolk State."
Against Stetson, Kline and Laite combined for 17 kills and just one attack error in 32 total attempts to power a Seahawks lineup that notched 34 kills and only seven miscues on its way to posting a season-high .397 hitting percentage. Freshman Victoria Phillips and senior Natalie LaHaie teamed up to run the highly-efficient UNCW attack, dishing out 15 and 11 assists, respectively.
Phillips also recorded a team-high nine digs to finish just shy of her first career double-double while freshman Lindsay Hartmann added seven and junior Haley Collins chipped in six. Sophomore McKenzie Keightley notched a match-high five total blocks and Laite tallied four rejections as the Seahawks finished the match with 10 total blocks.
Junior Kaley Melville notched nine kills and freshman Cailyn Prewitt tallied seven for Stetson, who was limited to a .000 hitting percentage for the match. Senior Kelli Carneal dished out 14 assists while Melville posted a team-best six digs.
With the score tied at 4-all early in the first set, a service ace by Laite sparked the Seahawks to a 13-2 run and a 17-6 advantage. The Seahawks would maintain a double-digit lead the rest of the way, cruising to a 25-11 victory. UNCW posted a solid .471 hitting percentage in the opening frame, tallying 10 kills and just one attack error in 21 attempts for a .429 hitting percentage.
UNCW continued to dominate play in the second set, racing out to an early 11-3 edge before closing the frame with six unanswered points to post a convincing 25-8 victory. The Seahawks maintained its torrid attack during the second set, posting 13 kills with just one error in 21 attempts for a .571 attack clip.
The third set saw Stetson jump out to an early 8-3 lead, only to see UNCW score four straight points later in the frame to pull even at 12-all. The Hatters would retake the lead moments later, 17-14, only to see the Seahawks once again level the score at 17-all. The two sides would then proceed to trade points until UNCW tallied five of six points to build a 23-20 edge. The Hatters responded with two straight points to pull within one, 23-22, but a kill freshman Meredith Peacock and a Stetson attack error gave the Seahawks a 25-22 victory and the match.
Versus Rutgers, senior Alex Jones led four Scarlet Knight players in double figures with 14 kills while three players - senior Kylie Orr and freshmen Alex Lassa and Sarah Schmid - pitched in 10 spikes each. Senior setter Stephanie Zielinski recorded a match-best 40 assists to guide a Rutgers attack that combined for 50 kills and a .278 hitting percentage.
Defensively, junior Tracy Wright notched a match-best 24 digs and freshman Ronnie Komisarek added 10. Zielinski chipped in nine bumps as she finished just shy of a double-double.
Senior Jennifer Mallard tallied seven kills and Laite added six for UNCW. LaHaie dished out 13 assists and Collins posted a team-high 12 digs.
Rutgers never trailed in the first set, taking a quick 3-0 lead before using an 11-4 spurt midway through the frame to build a 18-10 cushion. The Seahawks would pull within four, 22-18, but the Scarlet Knights tallied three straight points to close out the frame and take a 25-18 victory.
It was more of the same for Rutgers in the second set as the Scarlet Knights scored seven of the first eight points of the frame for an early 7-1 edge. The Seahawks rebounded, notching seven of the next 12 points to get within four, 12-8, but a kill by Jones sent Rutgers on a 9-3 spurt to take a 21-11 lead. The Scarlet Knights never threatened the rest of the way, scoring four of the final eight points of the set to cruise to a 25-15 triumph.
In a close third set that featured a total of six ties and four lead changes, Rutgers held a 22-18 lead late in the frame when a kill by Peacock ignited UNCW to five unanswered points and a 23-22 edge. the two sides then proceeded to trade points until back-to-back errors from UNCW with the score deadlocked at 24-all gave the Scarlet Knights a 26-24 win and the match.