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Gadsden, Ala. – The Western Carolina volleyball team split a pair of matches on the first day of the Gamecock Classic on Friday, dropping a 3-0 decision to Bradley in the morning before rallying back with a 3-0 victory over Mississippi Valley State in the nightcap. The Catamounts are 6-3 on the 2018 season.

Match 1: Bradley 3, Western Carolina 0 (25-23, 25-19. 25-11)

Bradley held off late rallies by the Catamounts in the first two sets as the Braves claimed a 3-0 win in the opening match of the Gamecock Classic.

Merry Gebel just missed a double-double as she led the Catamounts with nine kills and 11 digs. Meagan Sanchez tallied a team-leading 15 digs. Gebel, Sanchez and Sydney Carlson each recorded one service ace.

Hannah Thompson led the Bradley attack with 10 kills. Yavianliz Rosario was credited with 14 digs and posted four service aces while Hannah Angeli dished out 17 assists.

Following a pair of Bradley kills and a Western Carolina attack error that gave the Braves a 22-18 lead in the opening stanza, an Aleah Keaton kill opened a 5-2 run that saw that the Catamounts pull within a point, 24-23. Western Carolina was unable to complete the comeback as the Braves claimed the set following a Catamount error.

Trailing 12-7 in the second set, the Catamounts battled back with seven of the next nine points as a Brave attack error evened the score at 14. A Thompson kill opened a 5-0 run for the Braves before another Thompson kill ended the set.

Bradley got off to a fast start in the third set before the Catamounts pulled to within one, 9-8, thanks to a service error. A Thompson kill sparked a run for the Braves as WCU got no closer for the remainder of the set.

Match 2: Western Carolina 3, Mississippi Valley State 0 (25-10, 25-11, 25-15)

Western Carolina hit a season-high .346 while holding Mississippi Valley State to a .040 hitting percentage in a 3-0 sweep.

Abigail Veit led the Catamounts with nine kills, followed by Gebel and Keaton with seven. Sanchez led the defense with nine digs while Veit added eight digs. Haley Multerer was credited with two solo blocks while Keaton tallied four block assists. Hannah Price dished out a match-best 18 assists followed by Carlson with 12.

Taylor Selfridge led the Delta Devils with eight kills. Ariana Austin, Jessica Bell, and Tylia Dixon each had five digs.

The Catamounts opened the match on a 13-3 run. A Gebel service ace gave the Catamounts a 21-9 lead with a Madison McNally kill closing out the set.

Western Carolina dashed out to a 13-3 lead in the second set following a Veit kill. Mississippi Valley State cut the Catamount lead to eight points on three occasions but got no closer as Morgan Williams clinched the set with a kill for a 2-0 Catamount lead in the match.

Mississippi Valley State scored the first three points of the third set before the Catamounts pulled ahead with four straight points. The Delta Devils led 9-6 before an attack error opened a 6-0 run for the Catamounts. Western Carolina led by no fewer than two points for the remainder of the set.

Western Carolina wraps up the Gamecock Classic against tournament host Jacksonville State on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.

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