Volleyball Wins Three at GRU Tourney
By Jonathan Bym, Editor
Struggling out of the gate in the 2014 campaign, the UNCP volleyball team took a road trip down to GRU Augusta for a three-game invitational on Sept. 12-13.
The Lady Braves seemed to turn over a new leaf and won all three games on the road trip, including two five-set victories.
In the lone game of the first day of action, UNCP dismantled Paine in three sets with scores of 25-9, 25-14 and 25-18.
Nicole Matthews and Caroline Pridgen each had double-digit kills in the match with Matthews tallying a match-high 14 kills and Pridgen recording 11. Sabrina Gonzalez assisted on 40 kills and had all but three of the Lady Braves’ assists in the match.
After jumping ahead 9-4 in set one, the Black and Gold recorded 12 straight points, including four service aces in a row by Josephine Yang.
In the second set, UNCP rallied again on Yang’s service to stretch a one-point lead to eight.Midway through the third set, Paine took a 12-11 lead before the Lady Braves tightened up by holding them to just six points the rest of the set.
Carson-Newman had the Lady Braves just one point away from defeat in the first game of day two.
UNCP scored the next three points in the third set to force a fourth set.
The Lady Braves eventually won the match in the fifth set.Matthews had a team-high 22 kills while newcomer Jada Vernon and Cecilia Brandon each recorded 17 kills apiece.
Gonzalez dished out a game-high 58 assists on the 75 kills in the match for the Lady Braves.
Each set was very tightly contested with the final margin in the first four sets at no more than four points.In the final set, UNCP had 12 kills on its 15 points and broke up a 7-7 tie with a 7-0 run before finishing off the match with a 15-9 set win.
Another five-set victory was the result in UNCP’s final victory of the GRU Invitational over Emmanuel.
For the third game in a row, Matthews led the team in kills with 17, followed by Vernon and Brandon with 13.
In the final set, UNCP staved off three match points before finally taking home the win with a 19-17 fifth-set win.
File photo by Sherry Jacobs. Sabrina Gonzalez and Danielle Brown watch then teammate Sarah Bower return the ball in a game last season.