Boone, N.C. – The Western Carolina volleyball team dropped a pair of hard-fought 3-1 matches to Power 5 conference members Iowa State and NC State on Friday at the Appalachian Invitational. Senior Abigail Veit recorded a career-high in kills and junior Hannah Price finished with a new career-best in assists while senior Meagan Sanchez surpassed the 30-dig mark for the second time in her career.
Western Carolina is 2-7 on the 2019 season.
Match 1: Iowa State 3, Western Carolina 1 (25-16, 32-30, 24-26, 25-20)
Abigail Veit had a career-high and match-high 20 kills along with a .432 hitting percentage to lead the Catamount offense. Merry Gebel posted her fourth double-double of the year with 10 kills and 11 digs. Hannah Price also had a double-double with 40 assists and 12 digs. Meagan Sanchez had a team-best 23 digs and had two service aces along with Veit.
Iowa State had three players finish with double-digit kills, led by Annie Hatch with 17. Eleanor Holthaus recorded a double-double with 15 kills and 14 digs. Izzy Enna led the Cyclones with a match-best 26 digs.
The Catamounts won three of the first five points in the opening set as a block by Haley Multerer and MaKenzie White gave WCU a 3-2 advantage. The Cyclones answered with five straight points before an error brought WCU within three, 9-6. After a Catamount timeout with Iowa State leading 17-10, a Price kill made the score 19-15 but the Catamounts got no closer.
The second set featured 13 tie scores with the largest lead by either team at six points. The early portion of the set saw both teams struggle to gain separation until the Cyclones used a 4-0 run to lead 18-12. Iowa State had set point, 24-20 after a Holthaus kill but the Catamounts battled back with a Veit kill, consecutive Haley Multerer kills and an Iowa State error to even the frame at 24. The Cyclones claimed the set thanks to consecutive Holthaus kills.
A kill by MaKenzie White gave WCU a 15-12 advantage in the third set before the Cyclones knotted the set at 18 on a Piper Mauck kill. WCU answered, using a Multerer kill for a 24-22 advantage. After Iowa State tied the set at 24, the Catamounts earned the third set with a White kill and Veit service ace to win the set.
In the fourth set, Iowa State used a 3-0 run to claim a 12-10 edge. The Catamounts used three straight kills to even the set at 18 but Iowa State took the next point and led the rest of the way to win the match.
Match 2: NC State 3, Western Carolina 1 (20-25, 27-25, 25-21, 25-16)
Meagan Sanchez had a match-high 31 digs, finishing two digs shy of tying her career-high. Merry Gebel finished with her second double-double of the day with 18 kills and 17 digs. Abigail Veit was credited with 16 kills followed by MaKenzie White with 10. Hannah Price had a career-high 48 assists.
NC State was led by Melissa Evans with 20 kills. Kaylee Frazier had 27 digs while Nina Sharpton was credited with 40 assists.
With the opening set tied at 8, Western Carolina went on a 4-0 run to lead 12-8 before NC State cut the Catamount lead to two, 13-11. A Price kill followed by three straight Wolfpack errors gave WCU a 17-11 advantage. Consecutive service aces by Kaylee Frazier brought NC State within two, 18-16, but the Catamounts scored three of the next four points and closed out the frame with a Gebel kill.
Western Carolina went on a 4-0 run capped by consecutive Gebel kills to lead 10-5 in the second set. The Wolfpack used three straight Kemp kills to even the stanza at 14 before the Catamounts scored four of the next five points to lead 18-15. NC State claimed the set with kills by Chukwujekwu and Parchment. The teams swapped the lead four times with 13 ties.
NC State broke an 8-8 tie in the third set with six of the next seven points to lead 14-9. The Catamounts trimmed the Wolfpack lead to 24-21 before an Evans kill ended the set.
The Wolfpack used a big run in the middle stages of the fourth set for a 16-11 advantage. A Madison McNally kill brought the Catamounts within four but WCU would get no closer for the remainder of the frame.
The Catamounts face UNC Asheville on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in their 2019 home opener. The match will be streamed on ESPN+ (subscription required).
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