Sept. 15, 2012
ROCK HILL, S.C. - Sophomore outside hitter Caitlin Piechota picked up consecutive matches with double-digit kills Saturday in the final day of the Winthrop Classic as the Catamounts were defeated by Mercer and Winthrop. Junior captain Morgan Cochran picked up a career-high 33 digs in the defeat against Mercer.
In the first match of the day for the Catamounts, WCU jumped on the board early to pick up the first set 25-17. Mercer led early in the set, jumping out to a 14-11 lead over the Catamounts. WCU answered with a 5-0 run behind the serve of Cochran to take a 16-14 lead, forcing a Mercer timeout. Mercer returned with a point to cut the lead to one, before a kill by Abbey Scroggins from the set of Cally Pfeiffer began another long run for the Catamounts. With Paige McConlogue serving, WCU scored six unanswered to lead 23-15. Kills from Nicole Ford and Caitlin Piechota gave WCU the 25-17, first set win. WCU fell behind early in the second, trailing 4-1, and continually tried to claw back. The Catamounts came within one at 9-10 and 10-11, but a three point run by Mercer would give the Bears a comfortable three point cushion that Mercer would maintain until a four point swing late in the set gave WCU a 23-22 lead. Mercer came back with two straight points to retake the lead, 24-23, forcing the Catamount timeout. WCU picked up a kill from Caitlin Piechotaout of the timeout to tie the match at 24. Mercer would rally, though, to score two straight with kills by Molly Locke to take the second, 26-24.
Set three mirrored set two with Mercer needing the extra point to win the set by the same score of 26-24. In the final set, Mercer would take the match with a 25-18 win of the fourth set.
Sophomore Paige McConlogue tallied 25 digs in the match as freshman Nicole Fordknocked down nine kills, hitting .350.
Though the Catamounts were swept in the second match of the day against the host Winthrop Eagles, the Catamounts again played their opponent close, losing set one by three points and set two by just two.
Set one started with the Eagles widening a lead to three, 11-8, before a three point run by the Catamounts tied the set. In that run, Leah Butler and Caitlin Piechota tallied kills with Cally Pfeifferpicking up an ace. The match would stay within a point until an Eagle ball handling error gave WCU a 16-14 lead. Western Carolina would lead by as many as four, 19-15, before the Eagles came storming back, taking the set 25-22.
In set two, the Eagles were the ones who lost a six point lead, up 23-17. With their backs against the wall, WCU began to claw back, tying the match at 24. In the comeback, the Eagles made three errors, with Jordan Timmermann picking up two kills. A kill by Winthrop's Amy Zimmer forced a WCU timeout. WCU again answered out of the timeout with a kill from freshman Nicole Ford, one of her four for the match. Kristin Cruse picked up a kill for the Eagles, but WCU answered back with a huge block by freshmen Tina Nazario and Nicole Ford. Winthrop ended the set with two kills, winning 28-26.
The third set began closely, with both teams tied at nine. Winthrop would then set out to gain and widen its lead, taking the final set, 25-19.
With the losses, Western falls to 3-11 on the season with its final preseason tournament of the season behind them. The Catamounts return to the friendly confines of the Ramsey Center for a 6 p.m. matchup against Gardner-Webb before beginning conference play on the road against Samford and Chattanooga.