Charleston, S.C.Merry Gebel finished with a career-high 16 kills as the Western Carolina volleyball team dropped a 3-2 decision at The Citadel on Saturday afternoon. The Citadel claimed the match by scores of 25-22, 16-25, 25-22, 12-25, and 17-15.

The Citadel improves to 7-6 overall and 2-0 in the Southern Conference while Western Carolina drops to 6-8 and 0-3.

Gebel finished with her second straight double-double thanks to 16 kills and 12 digs. Gebel’s previous career high was 13 kills against UNC Asheville on Sept. 11. Abigail Veit tied a season-high with 14 kills. Sydney Carlson handed out a team-best 22 assists and led the team with five service aces to tie a career-high. Meagan Sanchez led the Catamounts with 14 digs, followed by Gebel with 12 and Hannah Price with 11.

Sharlissa De Jesus had a match-high 19 kills to lead The Citadel, followed by Sarah Dobrich with 14 kills. Caricia Rodriguez led the Bulldogs with 17 digs followed by Mellanie King with 15. Megan Fuhr was credited with 50 of The Citadel’s 54 assists for the match.

After The Citadel took a 23-17 lead in the opening set, the Catamounts pulled to within two, 24-22, thanks to a 4-0 run before a Dobrich kill ended the frame.

With the score tied at 13 in the second set, Western Carolina went on an 8-1 run to lead 21-14 following a Bulldog attack error. After a WCU error, consecutive Aleah Keaton kills followed by a Veit kill got the Catamounts to set point. King kept the Bulldogs alive with a kill before an attack error ended the set.

The Citadel enjoyed a 17-10 lead before a Haley Multerer kill brought the Catamounts within two, 21-19. The teams would trade the next two points before a De Jesus kill and a service ace put the Bulldogs ahead 24-20. Western Carolina would again slash the deficit to two points but a De Jesus kill ended the set.

Holding a 9-7 lead in the fourth set, Western Carolina went on a 9-0 run for an 18-7 lead as the Catamounts took control of the stanza. A Carlson service ace clinched the frame to force the first fifth set for the Catamounts this season.

A tightly contested fifth set featured four lead changes and seven ties with three points serving as the largest lead for either team. Western Carolina pulled ahead 14-13 with a Gebel kill before two straight WCU errors gave the hosts a 15-14 advantage. A Keaton kill tied the set at 15 before The Citadel claimed the match thanks to a De Jesus kill and an attack error.

Western Carolina returns to the Ramsey Center on Wednesday against UNCG at 6 p.m.