By Daniel Johnson, Staff Writer
Published in print Oct. 22, 2014
Since the Spartans started their Conference schedule three weeks ago, the team has gone 3-3 coming into Saturday night’s match against the Wofford Terriers. Two of the three losses came against the two top teams in the Southern Conference, Furman and Samford. Spartans coach, Corey Carlin, talked about his team’s response to Conference play.
“At the very beginning of conference play, we were still trying to identify what our brand was going to be” Carlin added. “We want to run a quick tempo offense, so we were aware of what we wanted, but putting it into practice, it took us a few matches to understand that we could do it and have the confidence to do it consistently.”
On the other side, Wofford came into the game with a 2-4 record in the SoCon, and coming off a lost in straight sets against East Tennessee State Friday night.
In another stirring five set performance, Wofford was unable to muster just enough to topple the Spartans as UNCG won their lone game of the week.
The game took five grueling sets for the Blue and Gold to come out on top.
The first set began as a back and forth game. After a couple minutes, the teams were tied 8-8. Then the Spartans then took complete command of the rest of the set. The Blue and Gold finished the game with a 17-7 run to take the first set 25-15.
Wofford turned the tables on the Spartans in the next set. Twice Spartans coach Carlin had to call timeout to lick their wounds. However, the Terriers tied the match with a 25-17 win. Carlin talked about the second set after the game.
“Anytime you are really clicking and playing well, and obviously we played well in the first set, it is easy to become complacent and things will fall into place without having to work or push through” Carlin said. “It was a good teaching moment for our team.”
Coming out of halftime, the Spartans recovered from the lost from the last set and won the set 25-20, and took a 19-12 lead in the fourth set. As most of the 513 fans in attendance began to pack up their belongings to head home, the Terriers showed that their bite matched their passionate bark.
Stunning the mostly Blue and Gold audience, Wofford finished off the set on a 13-4 run, and forcing a final set.
After giving up their lead in demoralizing faction, the last set showed the resiliency of the Spartans. Jumping out to a quick 6-2 lead, and finishing the set with a 15-7 victory, the Blue and Gold improved to over .500 in conference play.
Coach Carlin describes the final two sets as “An illustration on where we have been the past couple weeks. Being able to flip them out in the fifth set and take them out where they didn’t have much of a chance is what you like to see, but we have to go back and watch film.”
Proud to win back-to-back games at Fleming Gymnasium, Carlin was strong in his belief that the win certainly could be a momentum changer for the next week’s opponents.
“Anytime you can win at home, especially in the league, and with our upcoming schedule over the next week, it is a big victory.”
Proud of his team’s late game ability to adapt to the late Wofford rally, Coach Carlin asserted his team’s execution in the final set caused the team’s victory.
“Down the stretch, we executed well” Carlin added. “Better at times, the key message for our team between sets 4 and 5, and after the first time out, was the need to execute well and play clean.”
Great performances were given by freshmen Ashley Muench with a match high 14 kills, to go along with 11 digs to give her second career double-double.
Senior Kelsey Sidney matched Muench with 14 kills of her own.
The Spartans plays three Conference games this week. The Spartans return to the road on Friday and Saturday to battle against conference opponents, Chattanooga and Samford.