Sept. 28, 2008
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina volleyball (3-12, 1-1 SoCon) snapped an eight-match losing streak to Elon (12-6, 1-1 SoCon) dating back to 2003, defeating the Phoenix 3-2 (25-16, 25-23, 17-25, 18-25, 15-13) Sunday in the Ramsey Center.
"This is my first victory over Elon in my coaching career at Western Carolina," said Head Coach Stephanie Dragan. "We have come close, with the last two matches going in five, but it is good to finally come out on top."
It was the second consecutive match Western Carolina had gone to five games, falling on Saturday 3-2 to UNC Greensboro. Western Carolina had to battle a scrappy Elon club for the win down the stretch, after taking the first two games, and enjoying a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
In the first game, Western Carolina rode the strong serving of freshman Sara Gantt, who served seven straight points and helped balloon the Catamount lead from two, 14-12, to nine (21-12). The Catamounts took game one off a service error by Elon.
Western Carolina pulled ahead 2-0 heading into halftime thanks to strong serving by Carrie Minogue and Gantt again and also Elon's miscues as they committed eight errors in the second game. The Catamounts secured the win in the second game, leading by just one point, 24-23, when the Phoenix committed their eighth error of the game to give WCU game two.
It was all Elon in games three and four. Western Carolina was on its heels committing eight errors in both games. The Phoenix trimmed its errors to four in game three and just two in game four.
But it isn't how you start, it's how you end, and Western Carolina found a way to bounce back in game five. The final game was tied eight times and was knotted at 13 with each team trading points. Minogue's kill from an assist by Katie Hennessey gave the Catamounts a one-point advantage and Elon's 27th error of the match proved to be the most costly as the miscue gave WCU the game and the match.
"I am so proud of the players," Dragan said. "They dug down deep in that fifth game and just refused to loose."
For the second straight match, junior Amanda Kerr led the club in kills with 14 against Elon. Minogue added 11 and also had three service aces. Setter Hennessey notched her ninth career double-double with 34 assists and 13 digs. Junior libero Liz Rondone added 22 digs.
Western Carolina will be back in action October 4 for its first Southern Conference match on the road at Chattanooga.