CULLOWHEE, N.C. - For the fourth time in the last six matches, the Western Carolina volleyball team picked up a 3-1 victory over a tough Southern Conference foe. The Catamounts hosted Wofford, who is third in the Southern Conference standings, Friday night and handed the Terriers just their third loss in the last 10 matches. Wofford entered Friday night’s contest with an eye on second in the SoCon standings but it would be the surging Catamounts who came away with the victory.
WCU used a strong defensive effort and a balanced offensive attack to capture the victory. Three Catamounts reached double-figures in kills led by freshman MaKenzie White who had 12 kills and a pair of solo blocks. White had just two attack errors in the match and finished with a .370 hitting percentage. Freshman Gabby Gray and senior Katie O’Connor each added 10 kills. Gray had 15 digs to earn herself a double-double while O’Connor chipped in three blocks including a pair of solo stops. O’Connor led the Catamounts in hitting percentage with a .400 after having just two errors over the four sets.
The victory moves WCU’s record to 10-16 on the year and 5-8 in SoCon play while the Terriers dropped to 18-9 overall and 8-5 in league action.
Sophomore Aleah Keaton enarly got into the double-figure action as she had eight kills and four blocks including one solo stop.
Wofford had more kills and digs than the Catamounts but WCU took advantage of Wofford’s 35 attack errors that was aided by 11 Catamount blocks.
Wofford had four hitters reach double-figures led by Riley Coonan who had 15. Colleen Reilly and Bijonae Jones each had 13 while SoCon kills leader Catie Cronister was held to just 10 kills while producing 13 errors.
WCU jumped out to a hot start as the Catamounts took an early lead in the first set and never looked back. The Catamounts led 9-7 before going on a 8-3 run to open up a commanding 17-10 advantage. WCU would cruise the rest of the set before claiming a 25-17 victory off a kill from freshman Hannah Price.
The second set was tight throughout but with the Catamounts trailing 17-14, WCU went on a 6-2 spurt to reclaim the lead at 20-19. The two programs would trade points before a pair of Wofford errors and kills from O’Connor and Gray sealed the set 25-21 in favor of the Catamounts.
After the halftime break, it looked to be all Catamounts as WCU opened up an early 6-3 lead. WCU would hold the advantage until Wofford was able to tie the set at 19-19. Wofford out-scored WCU 6-3 down the stretch to take a 25-22 victory in the period.
In the final period it was all Catamounts as WCU repeated its performance from the opening set. The Catamounts jumped out to a 13-6 lead and never looked back. Wofford cut the advantage to four but that would be as close as the Terriers would come as a kill by O’Connor closed out the match, 25-18.
The Catamounts will not have much time to celebrate as they host the Southern Conference leader Furman Saturday night at 6 pm. Prior to the match WCU will honor its five seniors during its annual Senior Day celebration.