Oct. 4, 2013
Birmingham, Ala. -
In a back-and-forth match on the road at Samford, the Western Carolina volleyball team snapped an 11-match losing streak to the Bulldogs with a 3-2 (26-24, 14-25, 25-21, 20-25, 15-10) win Friday night in Pete Hannah Center in a Southern Conference match.
The Catamounts' last win over the Bulldogs came on September 10, 2005 also on the road at Samford. In the past 11 meetings, 37 total sets, WCU had only four sets. With the win, Western Carolina improves to 13-4 overall and 3-0 in the SoCon. The 3-0 start is the best start to SoCon play since the 2002 team started conference play at 6-0. WCU has now won back-to-back five set matches after defeating Davidson, 3-2, in the Ramsey Center on September 28.
Addy George set a career-high with 16 kills. The junior middle blocker recorded her 16 kills on 26 attempts with four errors for .462 hitting percentage. Junior outside hitters Caitlin Piechota and Jordan Timmermann followed with 13 and 11 kills respectively. Piechota hit at a.306 clip. Brandi Anderson, a junior right side hitter, tallied 10 kills and .389 hitting percentage. Cristina Nazario, WCU's sophomore setter, tied a career-high with 54 assists in the match.
In the first set neither team could pull away early, until Samford finally took control of the set when the Bulldogs broke a tie at 18 with three straight points to take a 21-18 lead. Trailing 23-20, Western Carolina mounted its comeback. WCU cut the lead to 23-22 with consecutive points, but Samford picked up a kill to take a 24-22 lead. Facing two set points, the Catamounts kept the match alive with a kill by Timmermann and a Bulldog attack error to tie the set at 24. A kill by Piechota and another Bulldog attack error gave WCU the 26-24 win.
The second set was all Samford as the Bulldogs jumped out to an 11-5 lead. WCU was never able to trim the margin to fewer than six points in Samford's 25-14 set two win to even the match at one set each.
WCU flipped the tide in the third set as Western Carolina took an 11-5 lead, but the Bulldogs didn't relent. Facing a 19-11 deficit, Samford rallied with a 9-3 run to trim the WCU lead to 22-20, but the Catamounts held on and ended the set, 25-21, with three of the final four points to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.
In the fourth set, Samford struck first with a 14-5 lead. WCU fought back with a 6-1 run sparked by two kills from George to pull within four points, 15-11. After trading the next four points, the Bulldogs increased the lead out to six points, 19-13. WCU again cut into the margin and again pulled within four points, 19-15, on a ace by Elyssa Mulheron. However, the Catamount comeback would fall short as the Bulldogs went on to claim the set, 25-20, to force a fifth and final set in the match.
In the decisive fifth set, WCU came out firing with a 7-3 lead as the Catamounts took advantage of costly Bulldog errors and timely kills from George, Piechota and Timmermann. Samford cut the lead to 9-7 and eventually pulled within one point, 10-9. But, Western Carolina got a big kill from Anderson that sent the Catamounts on a 5-1 run to finish the set, 15-10, and the match.
Defensively, senior libero Morgan Cochran picked up 18 digs to lead the Catamounts for the 85th time in her career and 15th time this season. She has recorded double-digit digs in 91 career matches and 16 of the 17 this season. Paige McConlogue, who has recorded double-digit digs in three straight matches, added 17 digs. Piechota added 14 digs for a double-double, her third double-double in as many matches and eighth this season.
WCU travels to Chattanooga Saturday for its next match at 3 p.m.
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