By Daniel Johnson, Staff Writer
Published in print Oct. 8, 2014
Two weekends ago, the Spartans’ volleyball team began their Southern Conference (SoCon) schedule with back-to-back road wins against Western Carolina and Mercer.
The team continued their conference road schedule this weekend against outer-conference opponent East Tennessee State (7-11) and Southern Conference rival Furman (11-4) and fell to both teams in matches that reached four sets.
With the two games, Spartans ended their three-week road schedule in a less than stellar outcome as the team returns to a home heavy schedule to finish out the regular season.
The defeats push the Spartans to a poor 2-6 road record, and more importantly in their match against the Samford Bulldogs, dropped the Blue and Gold down to fifth in the Southern Conference standings.
Game 1: UNCG vs. East Tennessee State
Out the two games of the weekend, it was Friday night’s match against East Tennessee that showed the most resilience and competitive performance of the Blue and Gold.
The Spartans were defeated in the first two sets and came back to make the contest much more interesting.
UNCG dropped the first set 25-20 then was handily defeated in the second set 25-13.
However, the Blue and Gold bounced back in the third set, winning 25-23.
The fourth set saw the teams play extra games as both teams were matched point for point for most of the game.
In the end though, East Tennessee State won out 29-27 in the fifth set.
Two different Spartan players finished with double-doubles in the contest.
Freshmen Ashley Muench finished with both a dozen digs and kills, while Sophomore Jessica Brezwyn contributed with 11 kills and 10 digs.
Sara Hohman was one dig away from becoming the third Spartans with a double-double to go with her 45 assists.
The Blue and Gold’s rematch against ESTU is coming up shortly as the team will host the Buccaneers Halloween night in Greensboro at Fleming Gymnasium at 7 pm.
Game 2: UNCG vs. Furman
The Saturday afternoon game saw UNCG go against the number one team in the Southern Conference, Furman.
The top team in the SoCon saw the Spartans unfortunately play a much more different game than the match versus East Tennessee State.
The Furman Volleyball team led the game in kills, assist, digs and had a hit percentage almost twice as good than the Spartans (.320 to .169).
In only one set, the Spartans broke through for 20 points as the Paladins dominated the match overwhelmingly in their favor.
The Spartan’s team leader in kills, Ashley Muench with 11, was either matched or surpassed by three different Furman players as Vicky Harley was the only other member of the UNCG team to reach double digits in kills (10).
The first set saw the Blue and Gold fall to the Paladins 25-16. Though the team would rebound in the next set to tie the game, it would be the last set they would win. The next two sets would see the Spartans lose a combined score of 50-30 (25-14 and 25-16).
Furman’s record now comes to 11-4, with a perfect 4-0 record against Southern Conference opponents.
Samford is the only other team in the SoCon with a perfect conference record. The Spartans’ record is currently 9-7, with a 2-2 record in the SoCon. Junior Leah Wells has yet to play since she was injured in the Spartan-Aggie Invitational two weeks ago.
Despite the recent trouble the team came across last weekend, the Spartans still can make up for it over the next three weeks.
The rest of their schedule sees the team play twelve teams in the SoCon.
Nine of their last thirteen games are home games. Luckily for the Spartans they will also be hosing the SoCon Championship tournament in November. This week, the team will host two games this weekend both at 7 p.m. On Friday, the team plays Samford and The Citadel on Saturday.