GREENSBORO, N.C. – Maria Esch and Holly Behrends each tallied 12 kills to lead the UNCG volleyball team past Furman, 3-1, Saturday in Greensboro, N.C., in the regular season finale for both teams.
The loss drops the Paladins to 12-15 overall and 8-8 in league play, while UNCG improves to 13-15, 7-9 in the league. Furman enters the Southern Conference Championship, will be held Nov. 16-18 on the campus of UNCG, as the No. 3 seed and will square off against the Spartans, who are seeded sixth, Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Paladins and Spartans split the regular season meetings, as Furman swept UNCG in Greenville on Oct. 12.
Senior Caris Cambell paced Furman with 14 kills, while junior Lydia Morris ht .474 with 11 kills and five blocks. Senior Jamila Johnson notched a team-high 19 digs in addition to nine kills, and senior Hunter Thompson led the Paladins with 40 assists.
With the score tied at 5-all in the first set, the Paladins reeled off six-straight points and went on to build a 19-10 lead. The Spartans answered with a 10-1 run to knot the game at 20-apiece, and the teams remained tied at 23-23 before Furman put together back-to-back kills from Morris and senior Jordan McNeill to take a 25-23 victory.
UNCG jumped out to an early lead in the second set and stretched the advantage to 14-7 before Furman put together four-straight points to keep the Spartans within reach. A kill by Johnson tied the match at 16-16, then the teams traded points to land at 22-22. Ignited by a questionable call, UNCG grabbed the final three points to win the set, 25-22, and tie the match at 1-all heading into the break.
The Spartans again claimed a quick 5-2 lead following intermission, but consecutive kills from Thompson and rookie Madison Gresham brought the Paladins within one. Johnson's kill tied the match at 6-6, and the teams were tied at 9-9 before UNCG put together a 7-2 run to break open the set, 16-11. Furman answered with a 7-3 run of its own to come within one at 19-18. The Spartans then won four of the next five points to stretch the lead to 23-19, forcing a Paladin timeout. Johnson put down a kill after the break to keep Furman in the set, but UNCG captured the final two points for a 25-20 win, taking a 2-1 lead.
Furman took an early lead in set four, 9-4, but a 6-1 run by UNCG tied the set at 10-all. The teams traded points back and forth and battled through eight ties to arrive at 23-23, before the Spartans capitalized off at Paladin error and Anne Scholzel put down a final kill to take the set, 25-23, for the victory.
Rebecca Rice added 11 kills for UNCG, and Mandy Garvens paced the Spartans with 26 digs.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information