Fresh off of a visit to Durham for the Duke Invitational Tournament, the UNCG Spartans Volleyball team hosted the Tussle in the Triad tournament this weekend; suffering defeats against High Point, Youngstown State, and Elon. Despite these results, it was a competitive three games that spanned a total of 14 sets with a few UNCG players playing some of their best volleyball over the course of the tournament.
Game 1: UNCG vs. High Point
In their only away game of the tournament, the Spartans fell in five sets to the High Point Panthers on Friday night. UNCG dropped the first two sets, before coming back from a 17-12 deficit in the third set, after scoring 12 of the last 15 points to win 25-20. The fourth set was tied at 17 apiece, before the Blue and Gold finished off the Panthers 25-18. The final set was also extremely competitive for the Spartans, but High Point managed to escape with a 15-13 win. UNCG’s Ashley Muench earned a career-high 26 kills during the match, while Sara Hohman led the Spartan offense with 47 assists, while also adding five kills and 13 digs. Sophomore Christina Gregory also tied her career-high with 24 digs in the match.
Game 2: UNCG vs. Youngstown State
On Saturday morning, UNCG lost their only four set match of the weekend to the Youngstown State Penguins in Fleming Gym. The Spartans again dropped their first two sets of the match, before storming out to a 12-5 lead on the Penguins after intermission. UNCG ended up taking the third set 25-18, and closed it out on kills from Allison Penner and Rebecca Rice, before an attack error from Youngstown State sealed the set for the Spartans. The fourth set was up for grabs for both teams, as the score was tied up at 20. However, the Penguins were able to hold off the Spartans, and win the set 25-21. UNCG had four players who earned over 6 kills in the match, led by Jasmine Jones’ with 12. Allison Penner nearly had a double-double, notching 34 assists and 8 digs. Christina Gregory matched her previous game’s high with 24 digs.
Game 3: UNCG vs. Elon
In the final match for the Spartans Saturday night, the blue and gold lost another close match to the Elon Phoenix. This time around, the Spartans took the first set and did it in impressive fashion by earning 17 kills at a .333 average, ultimately outscoring the Phoenix 25-19. In the second set, both teams were tied at 20 points before a few attack errors by the Spartans gave Elon the momentum to finish the set with a 25-21 win. Much like the previous set, the third set was tied up at 15, but from there, Elon was able to score two points of their own. Two more UNCG attack errors gave the Phoenix the edge that they needed to win the set 20-25. Another competitive fourth set eventually saw each team with 22 points on the board. The Phoenix then made a critical attack error, opening the door for back-to-back kills from senior Jessica Brezwyn to win the set. In the fifth set, Elon jumped out to a 10-7 lead, and the Spartans were unable to cut the deficit to anything less than two points, and ultimately lost the set 15-12. It was a great defensive effort by the Spartans, as the backline recorded a total of 110 digs during the match, behind Christina Gregory’s new career-high 36. Ashley Muench and Jasmine Jones accounted for 19 and 14 kills, respectively, and Allison Penner led UNCG in assists for the second straight game with 55. Gregory was named to the All-Tournament team after the match, averaging 28 digs per match over the span of the three games.
All of the Spartans’ matches up to this point have been out-of-conference battles, and the Spartans now sit at 1-5 overall on the season. UNCG will be playing in the Aggie Invitational tournament this upcoming weekend, and will take on Radford (6-1), North Carolina A&T (1-5), and Hampton (0-5). If the Spartans’ defensive effort from their most recent game vs. Elon carries over to the next three games, the outcomes should be different than what we saw this weekend.