Oct. 24, 2010
CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Senior Paloma Alvarez and freshman Kelcie Randazzo posted career-highs as the Catamount volleyball team fell in a four-set nail bitter with Davidson on Sunday afternoon at the Ramsey Center in WCU’s annual “Dig Pink” match.
The WCU volleyball squad unofficially raised $1,001 for the SideOut Foundation. All proceeds will support the organization’s research to fight breast cancer.
The Catamounts dropped the opening sets (21-25, 24-26) before battling back to win set three, 29-27. The Wildcats (14-13, 5-5 SoCon) took the final set, 25-20.
Alvarez paced the WCU offensive attack, tying her career-high with 19 kills to go along with 14 digs. The senior recorded a double-double for the second consecutive match and sixth time this year. The outside hitter also recorded a .372 attacking percentage in the loss.
“Paloma gave us the offensive edge from the beginning of the match, representing the go-to player in and out of system,” said Western Carolina head coach Manuel Concepcion. “She played like a veteran today, demanding the ball in tough situations and was able to come through.”
Randazzo posted a .609 attacking percentage with a career-high 15 kills and was only one dig shy of posting her 10th double-double of the season. The Orange County, Calif., native recorded all 15 of her kills in the final two sets of the match with a .636 attacking percentage.
“Kelcie complemented Paloma’s contributions, creating a strong offensive and defensive balance,” said Concepcion. “She came into the game and brought speed and effectiveness to the outside hitting game.”
Not to be done by two of her hitters, junior Emily Franklin posted a match-high 47 assists – tying her career high that she set against UNC Greensboro on Oct. 2. The Lexington, Ky., native added five digs and two kills in the loss.
Sophomore Amanda Chaparro and freshman Morgan Cochran led the defense with 18 digs each. WCU posted three more blocks than the Wildcats, paced by junior Carrie Minogue’s four blocks (two solo, two block assists). Alvarez, Chaparro and junior Rebecca Stoltz all chipped in two block assists.
Set one saw the two squads exchange leads early before WCU opened pulled ahead by two points (11-9). Davidson rattled off four consecutive points to take a 13-11 advantage and force a Catamount timeout. WCU responded by going on a 6-0 run, making the score 17-13, but three straight points by the Wildcats cut the WCU lead to one (17-16). The Catamounts went on a 4-3 run to take a 21-19 lead late into the match, but Davidson scored the final six points of the match to win 25-21.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 13-5 lead to open the second set before WCU retaliated by going on a 13-3 run, taking an 18-16 advantage. Davidson again regained the lead on a 4-1 run (20-19), but the Catamounts rolled off three straight points to take a 22-20 lead and force a Wildcat timeout. However, Davidson scored six of the final eight points – including the final five points – to take set two, 26-24.
Alvarez recorded eight kills with a .533 attacking percentage in the second set while Chaparro added two kills and eight digs.
Set three saw the two teams again go to extra points as WCU pulled out the victory, 29-27. WCU trailed 14-9 midway through the set before scoring six unanswered points, taking a 15-14 advantage. Late in the set, the Catamounts had their largest lead (23-20), but Davidson pulled ahead by one (24-23) after scoring four straight points. The set was tied four more times until back-to-back kills by Minogue ended the set.
WCU only lead on the opening point of set four before falling behind, 9-4. The Catamounts closed within two (13-11) midway through the set, but Davidson pulled out to a 23-16 advantage late in the set. WCU finished the set on a 4-2 run, but the Wildcats held on for the 25-20 lead. Randazzo finished the fourth set with seven kills and a .700 attacking percentage.
“I like the fact that the girls are keeping games close and even overcoming big opponent’s leads,” said Concepcion. “We won’t stop trying until that last whistle blows.
“It shows the strong character and resiliency that we have built in each of them. Losses are of course disappointing, but improvement is what keeps us moving forward.”
The Catamounts return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. as they play host to East Tennessee State in the team’s final non-conference match of the season.