Greensboro, N.C. – Behind 23 kills from Jamila Johnson and Jordan McNeill, Furman volleyball swept UNCG (29-27, 25-22, 25-17) on Friday night to earn a spot in Saturday's semifinal match. The win moves the Paladins to 13-15 on the year, while the loss ends the Spartans' season at 13-16.
McNeill paced the Paladins with 12 kills, 10 digs and two aces on the night, while Johnson put down 11 kills and added 15 digs and an ace. Carris Campbell tallied seven kills and three blocks for the Paladins, while Hunter Thompson turned in a double-double with 36 assists and 16 digs. Meg DeMaar totaled 22 digs on the night, while Courtney Hoffman added four blocks.
The teams traded points early in the first set until three-straight points by the Paladins, sparked by a Lydia Morris block, gave the Paladins the 14-12 lead. Furman held the two-point lead at 15-13, but the Spartans used a 6-1 run to take a 19-16 lead and force the Paladins to call their first timeout. The teams traded points until Furman used back-to-back points, capped off by a Jordan McNeill service ace, to cut the lead to 21-20 and force the Spartans to call a timeout. UNCG used back-to-back points of its own to push the lead back to three at 23-20, forcing the Paladins to take their final timeout of the set. The Paladins used a 5-1 run out of their timeout to grab set point at 25-24, before UNCG stayed alive, tying the set at 25. The teams then traded points until Furman got back-to-back kills from McNeill to take the first set, 29-27, for a 1-0 match lead.
UNCG jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the first set, but Jamila Johnson served the Paladins on a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 10-9, forcing the Spartans to call a timeout. The teams traded points out of the timeout, until back-to-back kills by Morris and Johnson tied the set at 15 and a block by Campbell gave the Paladins the 16-15 lead. UNCG tied the set at 16, but Furman used back-to-back points including an ace from Johnson to take an 18-16 lead, forcing the Spartans to take their final timeout of the set. Furman pushed the lead to three at 20-17, but UNCG rallied to cut the lead to one at 21-20, prompting the Paladins to take a timeout. UNCG tied the set at 21, but the Paladins closed out the set on a 4-1 run, taking it 25-22 for a 2-0 match lead.
The teams traded points early in the third, until a stuff block by Courtney Hoffman opened up a three-point lead for the Paladins at 8-5, leading to a UNCG timeout at 9-5 Paladins. Furman opened a four-point lead at 11-7, but UNCG used a 3-1 run to cut the lead to two at 12-10. The teams traded points until another block by Hoffman pushed the Paladin lead back to four at 15-11, forcing the Spartans to take their final timeout of the set. Furman opened its largest lead of the set at 17-11, then again at 18-12, before a Jordan McNeill ace gave the Paladins the seven-point advantage at 19-12. The Paladins took an eight-point lead at 20-12, before UNCG cut the lead to five at 20-15. The teams traded points until a kill by Hunter Thompson gave the Paladins match point at 24-17, then a UNCG service error gave the Paladins the 25-17 set three win a 3-0 match victory.
Holly Behrends led the Spartans with 11 kills, while Mandy Garvens totaled 22 digs.
Furman is back in action tomorrow at 4:30 p.m., taking on No. 2 Samford in the SoCon Semifinal.