CULLOWHEE, N.C. - For the second match-in-a-row the Western Carolina volleyball team knocked off a defending Southern Conference champion. Last Saturday, the Catamounts downed the defending conference tournament champions Furman 3-0 and this Saturday evening WCU defeated the defending regular season champions Chattanooga 3-1 on Senior Night. WCU honored its lone senior Lauren Saxby prior to the match but it was the freshmen who stole the show as Abigail Veit and Aleah Keaton had standout performances for the Catamounts.
Veit led the team with 18 kills which was one shy of her career-high of 19 while Keaton tied her career best performance with 15 kills. Keaton also tied her career-high in blocks while leading the team with seven putbacks. Sophomore Alyssa Zupan got in on the action with 10 kills and three blocks as well as the trio combined for 43 of WCU’s 54 kills on the night.
Freshman Meagan Sanchez also had a strong showing while leading the squad with 21 digs. Junior Jo-Leigh VerVelde continued her strong play at setter as she dished out 42 assists, dug up 15 balls and added three kills. Junior Gabby Edmondson, who returned from injury a few matches ago, added 16 digs from the back row.
The victory moves WCU’s record to 10-16 on the year and 5-8 in SoCon action while the Mocs fell to 15-12 and 8-6 in league play.
The Mocs were led by Kristy Wieser and Eden Murray who had 11 and 10 kills, respectively.
UTC dominated the opening set pulling away from a 25-13 victory. The second set saw the Catamounts lead wire-to-wire but a late surge by the Mocs made the score close at the end 25-22. The Catamounts jumped out to an early lead in the third set and hung on for a 25-20 victory before clinching the match with a 25-18 win.
WCU will now hit the road for its final three matches of the year. The Catamounts will travel to UNCG on Wednesday, Mercer on Friday and The Citadel on Saturday.