Wilmington, N.C. – Western Carolina collected a pair of five-set victories over Drake and North Carolina A&T on Friday action at the UNCW Hampton Inns Classic.
Western Carolina is now 5-7 on the 2019 season. Friday marks the first time in 2019 that WCU has won multiple matches on the same day.
Match 1: Western Carolina 3, Drake 2 (25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-10)
Merry Gebel and Abigail Veit both posted double-doubles to lead the Catamounts. Gebel had a team-best 19 kills and 14 digs while Veit was credited with 17 kills and 13 digs. MaKenzie White finished in double figures with 10 kills. Hannah Price dished out a career-best 53 assists. Meagan Sanchez was credited with 23 digs.
Haley Bush paced Drake with 19 kills, followed by Emily Plock with 13 and Gillian Gergen with 12. Kylee Macke had a match-best 28 digs.
With the opening set knotted at 18, Western Carolina used a Drake error and a Gebel kill to claim a 20-18 advantage. The Bulldogs pulled within one before the Catamounts scored four of the next five points to lead 24-20. Drake pulled to within two before a Veit kill ended the set.
Drake scored the final three points of the second set to break a 22-22 tie and even the contest at 1.
In the third set, Western Carolina jumped out to a 13-5 lead before the Bulldogs battled back to trim the deficit to two, 17-15. The Catamounts responded with four of the next five points and didn’t let the Bulldogs get closer than two points for the rest of the way as a pair of Drake errors concluded the set.
A Gergen kill broke a 10-10 tie in the fourth set and sparked a 7-2 run as the Bulldogs led 17-12. Western Carolina pulled to within four, 19-15, thanks to a Gebel kill but would get no closer the rest of the way.
The Bulldogs took advantage of consecutive WCU errors to open the fifth set before WCU used a 6-1 run for a 6-3 lead. Drake pulled to within a point, 7-6, but the Catamounts answered with three straight points. A Haley Multerer kill closed out the match.
The match featured 13 lead changes and 26 ties.
Match 2: Western Carolina 3, North Carolina A&T 2 (25-20, 25-27, 17-25, 25-19, 16-14)
Courteney Pitt paced North Carolina A&T with 32 kills and also had 10 digs. Edie Brewer posted a double-double with 11 kills and 17 digs.
WCU led the opening set 18-10 only to see the Aggies battle back to within a point, 21-20. The Catamounts answered with four straight points to claim the set.
North Carolina A&T made a late charge to claim the second set and even the match at 1.
The Aggies got off to a fast start in the third set and fended off a late WCU rally to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Western Carolina opened the fourth set on a 15-4 run and led by no fewer six points to force a fifth set.
Trailing 5-3 in the fifth set, the Catamounts used a 6-0 run to for a 9-5 advantage. The Aggies tied the set at 13 thanks to a 3-0 run. After the teams traded points, a Veit kill gave WCU set point with a North Carolina A&T error giving the win to the Catamounts.
Western Carolina concludes the tournament against host UNCW Saturday at 12:30 p.m.