BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Riding a two-match winning streak, the Western Carolina volleyball team travelled to Birmingham, Ala., to take on Samford in another Southern Conference match. Despite WCU’s top-three attackers either setting or tying their single match career-highs in kills, the Catamounts came up just shy of the victory at 3-1. The Bulldogs edged out a pair of 25-23 set victories in the first and second periods. After the halftime break, the Catamounts came out swinging and won in impressive fashion, 25-14, in the third set but it was another tight 25-23 margin for Samford in the fourth set as the Bulldogs took the 3-1 victory.
With the loss WCU drops to 9-16 overall on the year and 4-8 in conference play while the Bulldogs improved to 11-15 overall and 6-6 in league action.
Freshman MaKenzie White led the Catamount attack as she posted a career-high 19 kills in the loss while compiling a .390 attack percentage. The Norcross, Ga., native added a pair of blocks and two digs to her total.
Senior Katie O’Connor tied her single match career-high with 16 kills. She also led the team with a .467 attack percentage while also tallying a pair of blocks. Freshman Hannah Price continues to excel as an outside hitter as she set another career mark with 13 kills in the match. She also had two digs and a block.
Senior Jo-Leigh VerVelde continues to facilitate the offense as she dished out 48 assists and dug up 20 balls for another double-double. Sophomore libero Meagan Sanchez came up just shy of the 30-dig mark as she finished with 29.
The Catamounts played a strong match despite coming out on the wrong end of the result. WCU hit .269 as a team, which is the second highest team attack percentage this season and top mark in SoCon matches for the Catamounts, and held Samford to a .225 percentage. WCU also out-dug (87-81) and out-blocked the Bulldogs (8-6).
The Bulldogs placed a trio of hitters in double-figures led by Krista Boesing who tallied a match-high 21. Kelsi Hobbs added 17 kills while Shayla Phillip had 10.
With just four regular season matches left until the 2017 Southern Conference Championship, which will be held in Cullowhee inside the Ramsey Center Nov. 17-19, the Catamounts sit two wins outside of a tie for fifth in the standings.
The Catamounts will return to action this Friday, Nov. 3 at 6 pm as WCU hosts Wofford. WCU will be celebrating its five seniors over the two-match weekend which also features a 6 pm match with SoCon leader Furman Saturday night.