Atlanta –The Western Carolina volleyball team captured its fifth straight season opener as the Catamounts defeated Georgia State by a 3-1 margin on Friday evening at the GSU Sports Arena. The Catamounts won by scores of 27-25, 27-25, 21-25 and 25-23.

Western Carolina is 1-0 while Georgia State drops to 0-1.

Merry Gebel had a team-leading 12 kills. Sydney Carlson had eight kills and dished out 37 assists. Madison McNally had eight kills. Meagan Sanchez finished with 22 digs followed by Abigail Veit with 12. Veit and Johnna Robinson each had one block. Gebel and Noelle Soldo both had three service aces.

Morgan Hash led Georgia State with 15 kills followed by Meisheia Griffin with 10. Lauren Bandera had a team-leading 22 digs followed by Kampbell Hehr with 10. Hehr handed out a match-best 40 assists.

The tightly contested match featured 34 ties and 19 lead changes.

The Catamounts held off a late Georgia State charge to win the opening stanza. Neither team led by more than three points for the entire set. A Keaton kill gave the Catamounts set point, 24-21, before Georgia State rolled off three straight points to even the frame. Following a Panther error, Soldo had her third service ace of the set before a GSU error ended the set.

Following a Georgia State attack error that gave the Catamounts a 10-6 lead in the second set, Georgia State rolled off four straight points to even the frame. Georgia State led 18-14 thanks to an Isabelle Percoco kill but consecutive kills by Veit and Robinson cut the Catamount deficit to one, 21-20. Georgia State was one point from winning the set, but the Catamounts roared back and took a 2-0 lead in the match.

Georgia State broke and 11-11 tie in the third set with four straight points and held off a late charge to win the third set.

WCU opened the fourth set on a 4-0 run.  Georgia State used a 4-0 run to lead 20-16 but the Catamounts were able to come back for a 25-23 win to clinch the match.

Western Carolina wraps up the GSU Invitational on Saturday with a pair of matches. The Catamounts face Fordham at 10 a.m. followed by a contest against Lamar at 4 p.m.