Sept. 10, 2006
Morehead, Ky. - The Western Carolina volleyball team split its final two matches of the Comfort Inn Invitational at Morehead State on Saturday, knocking off Air Force in four, 3-1 (35-33, 32-34, 30-28, 30-13) but dropping its finale, 3-2 (30-24, 29-31,30-28, 23-30, 15-13), to Central Arkansas at Wetherby Gym.
Following the tournament, Western Carolina junior Meredith Harmon was named to the all-tournament team for her efforts. In three matches, Harmon recorded 34 kills with just six errors on 73 total attempts for a team-high .384 attack percentage. She added 13 total blocks, including five solo stops on the weekend.
In addition to securing its second win of the season, the victory Saturday morning over Air Force was a historic one for head coach Stephanie Dragan. The second-year WCU skipper tallied her 200th win in her 11th season as a collegiate head coach (see her complete record below).
In the first match of the day on Saturday, Western (2-9) had three players record double-digit kills, including the first career triple-double by freshman Katie Hennessey, in the four-game win over the United States Air Force Academy (1-6). Senior Heather Koontz led the way with a team-high 16 kills while Hennessey tallied 11 kills and 11 digs to accompany 36 assists. Her classmate, Brittny Johnson, was the third Catamount to reach double-digit kills finishing with a career-best 10. Senior Krista Neumann and junior Meredith Harmon each just missed double-digits with nine kills, apiece.
Defensively, freshman Liz Rondone led Western with 25 digs, while senior Meghan Boyle finished with a dozen and freshman Amanda Todd with 10 in the win.
Each of the first three games went down to the wire with the first two needing extra points to decide the victor. Western fell behind early in game one by as many as eight, and was on the verge of dropping the opening game by being on the short end of a 28-21 score before rallying. The Catamounts scored five-straight points to pull to within two, 28-26, then fought off three-consecutive game points to force the first tie of the game at 30 apiece. Tied again at 33, Neumann scored the final two points of the game to give WCU the early 1-0 lead.
Western again rallied in the second game to force the score beyond the 30-point plateau before falling, 34-32, to have the match evened at one-game apiece. The Catamounts took the third game, 30-28, before rolling in game four, 30-13, by out hitting the Falcons .348 (15k, 3e, 33ta) to .000 (9k, 9e, 45ta).
In the finale, Western led two games to one after beating Central Arkansas (6-4) in games one and three, but could not complete the victory, falling in five games.
Koontz and Harmon paced Western with 17 kills apiece while Neumann again just missed double figures with nine and Johnson had eight. Hennessey recorded the only double-double for Western in the five-game loss, dishing out 41 assists and tallying 10 digs. Rondone joined the 30-dig club with a career-best 32 digs in the loss.
Western returns to action on Tuesday, Sept. 12 when it visits the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs in Boiling Springs at 7:00 pm. WCU opens its home season by hosting the Catamount Clash V this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 15-16, in Cullowhee.
The Comfort Inn Invitational All-Tournament Team:
Meredith Harmon, Western Carolina
Kristina Stewart, Air Force
Camila Scapini, Central Arkansas
Amicha Williams, Central Arkansas
Kristina Schoo, Morehead State
Erin Peak, Morehead State
Katelyn Barbour, Morehead State (MVP)
Stephanie Dragan's Coaching Career:
1996 Agnes Scott College 19-11 1997 Agnes Scott College 11-19 1998 Centre College 15-17 1999 Centre College 17-18 2000 Centre College 26-8 2001 Centre College 23-13 2002 Centre College 23-19 2003 Centre College 27-16 2004 Centre College 28-12 2005 Western Carolina Univ. 9-25 2006 Western Carolina Univ. 2-9 Total 11 seasons 200-167