CULLOWHEE, N.C. - For the first time since 2013, the Western Carolina volleyball team opened the season with a 3-0 sweep as the Catamounts downed visiting Charleston Southern in both team’s opening action of the 2017 Catamount Volleyball Classic. WCU won the opening two sets 25-22 before powering to a dominating 25-12 third set victory.
A mixture of youth and veterans led the way for WCU as sophomore Abigail Veit and senior Katie O’Connor each registered double-digit kills in the win. Veit led the way with 12 kills and nine digs falling just shy of a double-double in the three set affair. O’Connor put down 10 kills on just 20 swings as she turned in a .450 attack percentage. The senior also teamed up with senior Jo-Leigh VerVelde for WCU’s lone block of the match.
Freshman MaKenzie White burst onto the scene in her first collegiate action as she scored eight kills on the day. Sophomore Aleah Keaton put down six kills on just 12 swings for a .417 attack percentage.
VerVelde once again ran the offense as she dished out 36 of WCU’s 39 assists while also picking up six digs and a kill. Sophomore Meagan Sanchez led the way defensively as she dug up a team-high 14 balls.
The Catamounts came up with seven service aces compared to the Buccaneer’s one as Veit had three and Sanchez chipped in two.
Charleston Southern was led by Addison Kaderli who had 10 kills while their all-conference libero led the match with 20 digs in just three sets. The Buccaneers led the NCAA in digs last season and turned in another strong performance as they out-dug the Catamounts 57-48.
WCU held the advantage offensively as the Catamounts out-hit the Bucs .217 to .122 and had a 41-34 advantage in kills.
The last time WCU swept their season opening opponent occurred in 2013 against Wright State. WCu would go on to finish the year 18-13 under current head coach Karen Glover.
The Catamounts will not have much time to celebrate as they return to action Saturday afternoon at 12:30 pm against Towson who opened the tournament with a 3-0 sweep of Jacksonville State. The Catamounts will also battle Jacksonville State in the final match of the 2017 Catamount Volleyball Classic at 6:30 pm tomorrow evening.