Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina opened the home portion of the 2019 season on a winning note Tuesday evening, sweeping UNC Asheville 3-0 by scores of 25-18, 25-14 and 25-22.

WCU improves to 3-7 while UNC Asheville drops to 5-5.

Abigail Veit continued the strong start to her senior season with a match-best 16 kills, which is the fifth straight match that she has finished with double-digit kills. Merry Gebel recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 12 kills and 14 digs. Reigning Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Week Meagan Sanchez contributed a match-high 17 digs, while Caroline Perret also finished in double figures with 12 digs. Hannah Price had a match-best 44 assists. Gebel, Sanchez, Price, and Veit each had one service ace.

Julia Loveday led the Bulldog offense with six kills. Kasey West paced UNC Asheville with 13 digs. Kailey Hackett had 12 assists.

An Aleah Keaton kill started an 8-4 WCU run to open the match. UNC Asheville pulled to within two, 11-9 following a Catamount error before Western Carolina answered with eight of the next 11 points for a 19-12 lead. Gebel closed out the set with an ace to put the Catamounts ahead 1-0 in the match.

With the second set knotted at 3-3, Western Carolina scored five straight points capped by a Gebel kill for an 8-3 advantage. The Catamounts led by no fewer than six points for the remainder of the set.

A tightly contested third set featured 11 ties and five lead changes. After the Catamounts raced out to a 9-5 advantage, UNC Asheville took a 14-13 lead following a Kailey Hackett kill. With the Bulldogs leading 18-17, the Catamounts scored four straight points for a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way.

Western Carolina returns to the road this weekend, traveling to Wilmington for the UNCW Hampton Inns Classic against Drake, North Carolina A&T and UNC Wilmington.

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