Oct. 9, 2005
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Western Carolina could not capitalize on the career hitting day by sophomore Meredith Harmon, falling in straight sets, 3-0 (30-24, 30-23, 30-25) to the Georgia Southern Eagles Sunday afternoon in the Ramsey Center.
The loss drops the Catamounts to 5-14 on the year, 4-4 in the Southern Conference, while the Eagles rebounded from their first conference loss on Friday to improve to 12-6 overall, 5-1 in league play.
"I feel the match was a lot closer than the final tally shows," said first-year head coach Stephanie Dragan. "Georgia Southern is a good team, but coming off their first conference loss to a team that we had already beaten, I felt the timing was there. But they (Georgia Southern) made the plays when they needed them."
Harmon led the Catamounts on the afternoon, recording a match-high 14 kills on 16 total attacks with a lone error. The .812 attack percentage was a career-best for the second-year player from Villa Hills, Ky., who also added four total blocks in the loss.
"Meredith was a bright spot for us today," Dragan added. "She kept us in the match by swinging hard and having a presence at the net on the block."
Harmon's classmate, Danielle Spitzer, had seven kills, while junior Heather Koontz killed six on the afternoon. Junior Kate Willard led Western with 16 digs, while senior Ellie Talbot tallied 15. Setter Meghan Boyle dished out 30 assists, adding two total blocks for the Cats.
Western managed to hang tough in each game despite falling in straight sets. The Catamounts battled back from an early 7-3 deficit in game one, eventually taking their first lead off a combined Harmon and Krista Neumann block, 8-7. After a back-and-forth struggle, the Eagles regained control of the game by opening up a six-point advantage, 21-15, before taking the 1-0 lead with the 30-24 victory. All told, there were eight total ties during the first game.
In the second frame, it was Western taking the early advantage, charging to a 3-1 count on a pair of Neumann kills before the Eagles could recover. GSU did, however, bounce back, taking the lead for good at 4-3. The Cats kept things close in the see-saw battle until defending SoCon Player of the Month, Iulia Porumbescu, served six-consecutive Eagle points to take a 23-15 lead. WCU would outscore the Eagles 8-7 down the stretch, but it was enough, falling 30-23 to trail 2-0 in the match.
Western Carolina trailed right out of the gates in game three, falling behind 8-3 early in the game. But the Catamount clawed their way back, tying the match at 10-all on a Harmon/Boyle block. Western took its first lead in the match seven-combined points later as Koontz and Spitzer combined on a block to give WCU the 14-13 lead. But the advantage was short-lived as Georgia Southern as the Eagles scored the next two points to regain the lead.
Tied at 15, GSU steadily began to pull away, matching its previous point separation of five at 26-21 before closing the match out on its 12th service ace of the match, 30-25.
Georgia Southern was paced by Porumbescu, and sophomore Bailey Coleman, each tallying 13 kills apiece. Porumbescu had the only double-double in the match, adding a match-high 18 digs and six service aces in the match. Senior Natalia Galantini passed 26 assists, adding five digs and three service aces, including the match-winner in game three.
The Catamounts return to action on Tuesday, Oct. 11 visiting East Tennessee State for the first non-conference meeting with the Buccaneers. Georgia Southern returns home to host Davidson in SoCon action in Statesboro on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm.