Bulldogs Battle Hard in Five-Set Match at UNC Greensboro
Greensboro, N.C. – The Citadel volleyball team endured its third five-set match in the last five matches as it fell in a tough SoCon opener to UNCG by scores of 19-25, 25-20, 24-26, 25-17 and 15-11.
The Bulldogs were led by the efforts of Lauren Hurt (12 kills), Rachael Farrell (11 kills) and Jessica Maxwell (10 kills). The trio combined to give the Cadets 54 total kills and a .220 attack percentage. The Citadel (2-13, 0-1) managed to find an offensive flow due in large part to a 44-assist effort by freshman setter Mikaela Tracy. Farrell and Maxwell also proved to be a force defensively with 11 and 10 digs, respectively. The tandem of Emily Dalton (13 digs) and Amanda Rudnik (10 digs) were also tops among defensive performers.
UNCG (7-6, 2-0) took advantage of an 18-kill, .773 attack percentage performance of Kelsey Sidney. Teammates Lauren Betlach (16 kills) and Karrian Chambers (11 kills) also reached the double-digit kill plateau to give the Spartans a 74-54 advantage on the front row. Meanwhile, on the defensive end UNC Greensboro was able to find success in the form of Kellie Orewiler (24 digs), Katherine Santiago (14 digs) and Emily McMurtrey (13 digs). McMurtrey also handed out 56 assists in the five-set thriller.
The Citadel capitalized on two kills each by Hurt and Farrell, along with three unforced UNCG errors to establish an early 8-6 advantage in the first set. UNCG rallied and went toe-to-toe offensively with the Bulldogs, as the two teams battled through nine ties to make for an eventual 17-17 score. It was there that Maxwell, along with the assistance of kills by Hurt and Farrell, to score six consecutive points and give the Dogs a 23-17 lead. The Spartans scored back-to-back points, trimming the advantage to four, but it was a kill by hurt and a bad set by Emily McMurtrey that gave the Cadets a 25-19 win.
The hard fought match between the two programs continued in the early stages of the second set, as one point separated the game between the first 14 points. UNCG eventually grabbed a three-point lead on a kill by Chambers, which evaporated after four unforced errors pushed The Citadel back in front, 13-11. The back-and-forth battle continued as UNCG scored six unanswered points, including kills by Betlach, Sidney and McMurtrey, to take a 17-13 lead. Kills by Maxwell and Farrell, along with four attack errors, kept the Dogs within striking distance down the stretch, but UNCG completed the 25-20 win to tie the match at one set each.
Both teams battled to grab a decisive edge in the third set with The Citadel assuming an early 5-2 advantage on a kill by d'Angelo. That three-point lead was followed by a 12-9 UNCG run that eventually led to a 14-14 tie. The Bulldogs forced three UNCG errors and used kills by Mikaela Tracy and Mallory Moore to regain the lead, 20-16. The Spartans again reacted with a run, scoring eight of the next 12 points, to force a 24-24 tie. But it was unforced error combined with a Hurt kills that proved decisive in the 26-24 Cadet victory.
With its back against the wall, UNC Greensboro overcame an early 7-7 tie in the fourth set to piece together an 8-3 run, highlighted by three Sidney kills, to move in front 15-10. The Spartans continued to add on the points, stretching the advantage to 22-14 on kills by McMurtrey and Freeman. Despite late scores by Maxwell and Cassie Uribe, UNCG sent the match to a decisive fifth set with a 25-17 win.
UNCG lead the fifth set wire-to-wire after jumping out to an early 4-0 lead. The Bulldogs rallied behind a pair of kills by Rudnik, but the Spartans responded with kills by Morgan Freeman, McMurtrey and Chambers to move back in front 8-4. Following back-to-back points by Rudnik, The Citadel trailed 9-7, but was unable to find an offensive match for Sidney's four points down the stretch as UNCG completed the 15-11 decision.
The Bulldogs make their first appearance at McAlister Field House this season when they host cross-town rival College of Charleston on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. For more information on Bulldog Volleyball, go to the official website of The Citadel Athletics, www.CitadelSports.com.