This past weekend, UNCG Volleyball played three matches in two different cities in less than 24 hours in what is known as “The Tussle in the Triad tournament”—a three round tourney that featured Elon, High Point and Navy.
The Spartans got off to a nice start on Friday night in a very tight battle against HPU, taking the first set 25-23. After losing the second and third set, they recovered by taking the final two sets and therefore the match. Allison Penner had an incredible 50 assists throughout the long-running match. Ashley Muench led the team with 20 kills.
On Saturday morning, the Spartans faced off against Elon. Elon was able to maintain a small lead in each and every set, with UNCG keeping the score very close but rarely getting ahead. The first set was won by Elon, 25-23. They won the second set 25-21 and then finished the Spartans off in the third set with another 25-23 score.
Elon’s setter, Kodi Garcia, led the way with 40 assists. On UNCG’s side, Muench had another good outing with 13 kills.
The Spartans entered the Friday evening game with a 1-1 record, going up against Navy in the late afternoon.
The game started out on an attack error by Ashley Muench to put the Spartans down 1-0. While the blue and gold showed some fight, Navy played a strong all-around set and was able to keep up a healthy lead. With the score at 18-6, Allison Penner, the setter, showed that she could be aggressive as well by getting a rare kill.
Nevertheless, The Navy Midshipmen continued to play strong through the set and ended up taking it 25-14, a lopsided score for a hopeful UNCG team.
Fortunately, the relentless Spartans fought right back to get the second set started. Allison Penner set up Katie Wagner for a kill to start off, and a very competitive second set ensued.
This was when UNCG played their best volleyball of the night. With the score tied at 4-4, the Spartans took their game up to another level, recording five straight points against the tough Midshipmen team. Three of those five points were impressive kills by Holly Behrends, who would end up with a team-leading 11 kills for the match.
After calling a timeout, Navy was able to recover from their quick downhill slide. They gradually worked the score back to a 14-14 tie.
However, UNCG didn’t let down. The girls came right back with a great string of points and regained the lead at 18-15. Things were looking up for the Spartans in this second set.
Unfortunately, Navy started took control again. They took 10 of the next 15 points, including a good amount of unforced errors from UNCG. Navy won the second set by a score of 25-23, a back breaking loss for the Spartans.
UNCG came back firing once again. They quickly got up to a 4-3 lead with some notable kills by Annchara Montgomery, the redshirt senior. She ended up with five kills for the night.
However, Navy flew in like a storm. The Midshipmen brought on the kills and got the score up to 9-6 in their favor. From there, things got even worse. Navy went on the largest scoring run of the night, seven straight points that went their way.
UNCG made four errors during that stretch, and Serena Seelbach had multiple impressive kills for Navy.
While the scoring run ended, UNCG was never really able to get back into the game. Even though the Spartans were able to muster up some impressive points, including an Ashley Muench service ace, they were lagging behind their competitors.
They fought a tough battle but ended up losing the set 15-25, which gave the final match of UNCG’s tournament to Navy.
Despite their 1-2 record, UNCG did have one of the highlights of the tournament. Ashley Muench, the star senior, was named Player of the Tournament.
On Sept. 22, UNCG will finally start conference play in a big game against East Tennessee State.