Sept. 28, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Despite two close sets to begin the match, the Western Carolina volleyball team was swept by Elon, 3-0 (22-25, 25-27, 15-25), in its first SoCon home match of the season. Elon (8-10, 1-2 SoCon) picked up its first conference win as the Catamounts fell to 5-13 overall and 1-2 in the Southern Conference.
"We played pretty hard in the first two sets, but unfortunately, some timely mistakes didn't allow us to finish," said head coach Karen Glover.
"In the third set we came out and dug ourselves a hole that we weren't able to recover from."
Neither team hit well in the match as Elon hit at a .176 clip while the Catamounts hit a .144. Elon's Megan Gravley tallied a match-high 16 kills and scooped 13 digs. WCU outside hitter Caitlin Piechota picked up a double-double for the Catamounts - her team-leading fifth of the season - as the Batavia, Ill., native finished with 12 kills and 15 digs.
Libero Morgan Cochran led both teams in digs with 24, the eighth time the junior has gone over 20 digs this season. The 24 digs moved her up to seventh place on the all-time digs chart, jumping over Sara Komosinski (2000-03). Ramsey Herron (1996-99) currently sits in sixth with 1,218 digs.
The Catamounts look to rebound tomorrow with SoCon North-foe UNCG coming to the Ramsey Center. Match time is set for 5:00 p.m. Fans are reminded that Mountain Heritage Day takes place on the WCU campus Saturday. Parking spaces will be limited with the Creek Lot across from the Ramsey Center blocked off due to the event. Fans are encouraged to park in the baseball field lot.
Entering the weekend's matches, UNCG was coming off its opening weekend of Southern Conference play with two wins, defeating Elon on the road before returning home to take down The Citadel. The Spartans needed five sets to take down both teams.
UNCG is 7-6 overall for the season with its other wins over N.C. Central, Liberty, Hampton, North Carolina A&T and UNC Wilmington. Both schools have played North Carolina A&T, Ohio and UNC Asheville with both records matched at 1-2. Both schools lost in five sets to UNC Asheville.
The Spartans' two liberos, junior Kellie Orewiler - the 2011 SoCon Libero of the Year, and freshman Katherine Santiago have combined for 426 total digs while averaging 3.36 and 3.98 digs per set, respectively. The Catamounts counter with Morgan Cochran - currently third in the league in digs per set with 4.95 - and defensive specialist Paige McConlogue who averages 3.15 every set.
Offensively, Karrian Chambers and Olivia Humphries leads the attack with 155 and 149 kills apiece. Chambers is also top three on the team in digs (third, 87) and aces (second, 12).
Vicky Harley leads the Spartans in blocks with 42 (0.86 blk/s).
Historically, WCU owns a 23-15 overall record against UNCG, having split its matches a season ago. The Catamounts swept the Spartans in their first meeting of the 2011 season in Greensboro snapping a 10-match losing streak to UNCG, but then fell in Cullowhee, 1-3, in their second meeting.