Sept. 29, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Leah Butler's perfect 5-for-5 set three effort energized the Western Carolina volleyball team to outlast a strong set three effort by the UNCG Spartans that required extra points to take down UNCG, previously unbeaten in SoCon play, by a sweep, 25-19, 25-22, 27-25, at the Ramsey Center Saturday afternoon.
Western Carolina (6-13, 2-2 SoCon) hit at a higher rate than they have against SoCon opponents this season against UNCG (7-7, 2-1 SoCon), hitting .225 collectively. Addy George (10 kills), Jordan Timmermann (9 kills), Caitlin Piechota (14 kills), Leah Butler (5 kills) and Abbey Scroggins (5 kills) each hit at least five kills in the match. Caitlin Piechota picked up her third consecutive double-double, adding 15 digs to go along with her match-high 14 kills. George hit a consistent .318.
Defensively, the Catamounts only had one block, its lowest of the season, but the Catamounts scooped 86 digs with Jordan Timmermann (17), Piechota (15), Paige McConlogue (18) and Morgan Cochran (22) all collecting double-digit digs. McConlogue also picked up her first career kill, a strike across the left side of the floor to tally the kill.
Cochran continued her ascent up the Catamount career digs chart, moving up to sixth place all-time with 1,219 career digs. Cochran is averaging a solid 5.20 digs per set in all matches, but her average increases to 6.92 d/s in conference matches. Cochran began the week third in the conference in digs.
Western Carolina began strong in the match picking up the first two sets by scores of 25-19 and 25-22. WCU presented a balanced offensive attack going into the intermission with four Catamounts - Addy George (6), Jordan Timmermann (6), Caitlin Piechota (8) and Abbey Scroggins (4) with at least four kills. Setter Tina Nazario orchestrated the effort, dishing out 26 assists through two sets. UNCG picked up five total blocks in the second set. Emily McMurtrey and Morgan Freeman each had three blocks in the second set alone.
UNCG led early throughout the final set, with WCU finally gaining a lead at 15-14 off the Butler kill. UNCG would keep the match close before finally gaining a lead off a WCU setting error at 24-23. Both teams traded points before a UNCG attack error evened the score at 25. A Caitlin Piechota kill and a UNCG attack error gave the Catamounts the match, winning the set 27-25.
"We've struggled in the past, battling when things were tight at the end," said head coach Karen Glover. "It was nice to see the girls really focus and fight to finish a set. Leah did a great job coming off the bench in set three to give us an offensive spark going 5-for-5."
Consistency in receiving the serve helped out WCU's sideout percentage, which consistently stayed above 63% throughout the match getting as high as 69% in set three, allowed setter Tina Nazario to distribute the offense evenly. Nazario finished with 44 assists in the match.
WCU returns to SoCon action against rival Appalachian State Thursday evening in the Ramsey Center at 7:00 p.m. Appalachian State is currently winless in Southern Conference matches with a match Saturday against Elon. The Catamounts will then play Davidson at home at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.