CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Playing at home for the first time in 19 days and with a healthy Jo-Leigh VerVelde, the Western Carolina volleyball swept The Citadel in WCU’s Southern Conference opener, 3-0. The Catamounts held the Bulldogs to a .000 hitting percentage while swinging at a .374 clip on their own offensive side of the ball. Freshman Abigail Veit and sophomore Moea Osbey registered double-digit kills while VerVelde dished out 36 assists in just three sets for WCU.
Veit put down 13 kills while digging up six balls. She also assisted on a pair of blocks. Osbey came off the bench to score 11 kills on just 22 swings.
The Catamounts improved to 6-8 overall and a perfect 1-0 in Southern Conference play while the Bulldogs dropped to 6-11 overall and 0-2 in SoCon action.
WCU’s two middles combined for 12 kills on 21 swings for a .524 hitting percentage. Freshman Aleah Keaton tallied eight kills on 12 swings with one error for a .583 percentage while junior Katie O’Connor had four kills on nine swings for a .444 percentage. Keaton added a team-high five block assists while O’Connor had two.
Sophomore Alyssa Zupan contributed six kills to the offensive output while VerVelde snuck five kills past The Citadel defense on just eight swings for a team-high .625 hitting percentage. VerVelde added a service ace, four digs and three block assists to her total contribution. Freshman libero Meagan Sanchez led the team with 16 digs while dishing out four assists.
The Catamounts went back-and-forth with the Bulldogs early in the first and second sets but late runs proved to be the difference. WCU went on a 10-1 run midway through the first set to pull away fro a 25-15 victory after the game was tied at 10. A 5-1 run late in the second set proved to be the difference in a 25-21 victory for WCU in the period. The third set opened with a 16-5 run by the Catamounts and WCU never looked back as they coasted to a 25-10 victory over the Bulldogs.
WCU will return to action Friday, Sept. 30 as they travel to defending conference champions Furman for a 7 pm match.