Nov. 9, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. -
The Western Carolina volleyball team claimed the first set in speedy fashion, but dropped the last three sets as Samford escaped the Ramsey Center with a 3-1 (12-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-16) win Saturday night in a Southern Conference match.
With the loss, WCU slips to 16-11 overall and 6-7 in the SoCon, while Samford improves to 19-10 on the season and 10-4 in league play. The Catamounts drop to eighth in the SoCon standings as Wofford's win Saturday gives the Terriers a half game lead over WCU, while Samford remains in third in standings, one game behind Furman at 11-3.
WCU got off to fast start in the opening set with a 12-5 lead as the Catamounts cruised to 25-12 win.
However, Samford settled in the second set as the two teams were locked in a tightly contested set. Neither team could break free with a lead larger than two points, but Samford, trailing 23-22, collected three consecutive kills to steal the set away from WCU, 25-23.
The third set followed a similar path as Samford held the largest lead of the set, 14-11, only to see WCU battle back with a 4-1 run to pull even at 15. From there, both teams continued to trade points. The Bulldogs had the first chance at winning the set, 24-23, but allowed the Catamounts to stay alive with a service error. WCU fought off a second set point, 25-24, on a Caitlin Piechota kill, and a third set point, 26-25, on another Samford service error. However, the Bulldogs took advantage of its fourth set point, 27-26, with a kill to claim the 28-26 win and to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
With the fourth set knotted at 12, Samford launched an 8-1 run to pull out to a 20-13 lead and take a strong hold on the set and the match. The Bulldogs maintained the advantage in the 25-16 set win to seal the match.
Piechota paced the Catamount attack with 15 kills on 44 attempts with one error for a.318 hitting percentage. Jordan Timmermann followed with 11 kills and was the only other Catamount in double figures. Cristina Nazario handed out 38 assists running the offense.
Samford, however, placed four players with double-digit kills.
Defensively for the Catamounts, Morgan Cochran led the way with 26 kills, while Nazario and Paige McConlogue each picked up 12 digs. Nazario earned her ninth double-double of the season in the losing effort.
WCU returns to the court Sunday at 3 p.m. against Chattanooga as the Catamounts play in their final home match of the 2013 season. Prior to the match, seniors Morgan Cochran and Leah Butler will be recognized for their contributions to the Catamount volleyball program.
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