Johnson City, Tenn. – Western Carolina senior libero Meagan Sanchez surpassed the 2,000-career digs milestone on Wednesday evening with a career-high 35 digs, but the Catamounts dropped a 3-1 decision to ETSU at Brooks Gym. The Buccaneers won by scores of 23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-18).
Sanchez’s 35 digs surpass her previous single-match high of 33, coming against ETSU on Oct. 22, 2017. She is the fifth player in program history to finish with 35 digs in a match which ranks fourth in WCU’s single match highs for digs. Additionally, Sanchez is only the third player in program history to record 2,000 digs and is currently third with a career total of 2,021.
Merry Gebel posted her 16th double-double of the year with 16 kills and 10 digs. Abigail Veit had her 14th double-double with 14 kills and 14 digs. Her 14 digs moved her into 10th on the all-time career digs list. Hannah Price dished out 43 assists. Aleah Keaton had five total blocks.
Olivia Cunningham led ETSU with 19 kills followed by Lauren Hatch with 12 and Sara Esposito with 10. Marija Popovic led the Bucs with 29 digs. A total of five ETSU players combined for 11 service aces.
WCU (17-11, 11-4 Southern Conference) claimed a 6-3 lead in the first set thanks to a Buccaneer error before the hosts tied the game on a Cunningham kill. After consecutive Veit kills put the Catamounts ahead 13-9, ETSU scored four straight points to even the set. Following a block by Emily Arnold and Kaela Massey that gave ETSU a 22-20 advantage, the Catamounts ripped off three straight points to retake the lead. A Hatch kill on the next point tied the match at 23 before WCU took the opening set with kills by reigning SoCon Defensive Player of the Week MaKenzie White and Price.
A Price kill gave WCU a 4-2 edge before ETSU scored six of the next seven points for an 8-5 lead. Sanchez reached her career milestone on a Veit kill as the Catamounts pulled within two, 12-10. Hatch pushed the ETSU lead to five, 18-13, with a kill before consecutive Buccaneer errors brought WCU back within a pair, 19-17. ETSU scored four of the next five points for a 23-18 edge and claimed the set thanks to a Massey kill.
Cunningham gave the Bucs a 5-2 lead in the third set but WCU drew even at 7 after an error. A block put the Bucs on top 12-10 prior to a 4-0 Catamount run. ETSU responded with six of the next seven points for an 18-15 lead. ETSU led 23-17 before a service error sparked a 5-0 Catamount run with the visitors coming within a point, 23-22. Consecutive kills by Cunningham and Hatch gave ETSU the set three victory.
ETSU (23-4, 14-1) got off to a fast start in the fourth set but the Catamounts cut the deficit to two, 12-10, after a Gebel kill. A Coffman kill extended the ETSU lead to 22-14 with the Catamounts battling back within four, 22-18. The Bucs scored the final three points to win the match.
Keep track of everything related to Catamount volleyball and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports), Instagram (@wcu_catamounts) and Twitter (@catamounts, @wcu_volleyball).