Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina had four student-athletes record double-doubles but the Catamounts were unable to hold off a Samford rally in a 3-2 loss to the Bulldogs in the Ramsey Center on Friday evening. Samford won the match by scores of 22-25, 19-25, 25-16, 25-17 and 15-11.
Samford improves to 11-11 overall and 6-2 in Southern Conference play while Western Carolina drops to 9-9 and 3-4.
Merry Gebel posted her team-leading eighth double-double of the season with a team-best 15 kills along with 20 digs. Reigning SoCon Defensive Player of the Week Abigail Veit posted 13 kills and 18 digs. Sydney Carlson recorded a team-best 23 assists along with 11 digs while Hannah Price had 22 assists and 10 digs. Meagan Sanchez led the Catamounts with 28 digs, one shy of tying a season-high.
Shayla Phillip led the Bulldogs with 16 kills, followed by Krista Boesing with 15, Elise Watford with 14 and Lauren Deaton with 12. Alana Schouten had a team-best 26 digs. Taylor Anderton dished out a match-high 56 assists.
Trailing 21-20 in the opening set, a MaKenzie White kill ignited a 4-0 run for the Catamounts to gain a 24-21 edge. Samford pulled to within two, 24-22 before a service error ended the stanza. The first set had eight lead changes and 15 tie scores.
A Gebel kill gave the Catamounts an 18-13 lead in the second set. Samford trimmed the WCU lead to 22-19 following a Catamount attack error before a Veit kill and consecutive Bulldog errors gave the hosts a 25-19 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Samford pulled out to a 20-11 lead in the third set as the Catamounts got no closer than seven points for the remainder of the frame.
In the fourth set, following a Veit kill that brought the Catamounts within one, 17-16, Samford outscored the Catamounts 8-1 to force a decisive fifth set.
Three consecutive Phillip kills gave the Bulldogs a 9-3 lead in the fifth set before the Catamounts pulled to within one, 9-8, on a Samford error. Samford outscored Western Carolina 6-3 for the remainder of the set to clinch the match.
Western Carolina hosts Chattanooga on Saturday at Noon as the front end of a volleyball and football doubleheader against the Mocs.