By Daniel Johnson, Staff Writer
Published in print Sept. 24, 2014
Following last weekend’s dominating performance at the Spartan-Aggie Invitational, the Blue and Gold Volleyball team traveled to Miami to face off against respected volleyball powerhouses, Miami University and Missouri in the Hurricane Challenge Tournament this past weekend.
Despite their best efforts, the Blue and Gold fell to both teams.
In two games, the Spartan Volleyball team won only one out of seven sets. In the final sets of each game, the Spartans suffered the largest point disparity in defeat this season.
The games had an uncanny similarity with the Spartans, as UNCG battled closely and competitively in the first two sets, but by the final set, their opponents overpowering them in each match.
Game 1: UNCG vs. Miami
In their first game of the tournament against the host team, the Hurricanes flexed their home court advantage over the Spartans.
Miami players Savannah Leaf and Taylor Scott combined for 28 kills, which was only one less than the total kills on the Spartans side of the net.
A key figure of the game which exemplified the Hurricanes strong showing in the match was the difference of hit percentage in the contest.
Miami’s hit percentage, at .312, was more than double the Spartan’s .153 percentage. With the disparity in statistics, it could be assumed the sets were blowout. Yet, the first two sets were extremely close.
The first set saw the Spartans fall in close fashion 25-21 and the second 25-20.
The third set however, matched the Hurricanes’ dominance on the box score, with Miami winning the set 25-14.
Though the meeting between the Hurricanes and Spartans favored the host school, the Spartans saw efficient play from some of its players.
Individual performances on the Spartans side to be proud of were seen in Katherine Santiago who led the team with 12 digs, and Sara Hohman, who combined 17 assists with five kills on her own.
Game 2: UNCG vs. Missouri
Saturday saw the Spartans play in one of their most competitive games of the season.
The first set ended with the Blue and Gold losing to the slim margin of 25-23. In the second set, UNCG bounced back and tied the match, winning the set 25-20.
This would be the only set the team would win in the tournament. The Tigers regained the momentum they lost from the previous set by winning the third set 25-19.
In the fourth, and final set of the match, like a mirror of the previous game, the Spartan Volleyball team fell 25-14. Despite the loss, unlike last game, the box score saw much more balanced game. Spartan Vicky Harley led both teams with 15 kills, while Sara Hodham recorded a double-double with a game high 42 assists, and 13 digs.
With the two defeats at the Hurricane Challenge, along with last Tuesday’s lost to High Point, the Blue and Gold are currently on their first losing streak of the season.
The losing streak has dropped the team from the top of the SoCon standings to second, behind Furman by a half a game.
Defensive Specialist Leah Wells is still nursing an injury she suffered during the Spartan-Aggie Invitational and did not play this weekend. Her status is still questionable for the next games.
UNCG begins their SoCon schedule over the next two weekends. This weekend, the team is traveling to Cullowhee to play Western Carolina, than treks to Georgia to face Mercer for a Saturday match.
The following weekend, the Blue and Gold will head to Tennessee to face East Tennessee State. Finally, the team closes up the road trip by traveling to Greenville, South Carolina to face against the current leader of the SoCon, Furman.