The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs stayed undefeated at home and opened the 2012 Southern Conference season with a 3-0 sweep of Appalachian State Friday night.
UTC took 25-18 25-16 and 25-21 victories in front of a electric crowd of 287 at Maclellan Gym to push its record to 7-9 on the season, including a spotless 6-0 record on its home court, and 1-0 in SoCon action. App State falls to 4-12 overall and 0-1 to start the conference campaign.
"It's great to be undefeated at home but open up with a conference win, that was the biggest thing," Head coach Travis Filar said. "It was such a great atmosphere. It was incredible. To start out as strong as we did in conference play is just great way to send a big message to ourselves that we can do what we've been talking about doing. It showed tonight."
The Mocs were fueled offensively by freshman Julimar Alvarado (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), who led the way with 13 kills and two aces on the evening and junior Bridget Camacho's (Cumming, Ga.) team-high 31 assists. Paula Passmore (Meritt Island, Fla.) was key for UTC defensively, as the senior libero notched 23 digs and provided the highlight of the night, diving into the front row of the bleachers to keep a point alive in the final set. Her effort earned her team a point and brought the Maclellan Gym to its feet.
Chattanooga trailed the Mountaineers 3-2 early in the first frame before the Mocs used two Christina (Signal, Teter kills off feeds from Camacho to take six straight points and earn a 9-2 advantage. UTC dropped the next four points before Camacho found Alvarado for one of her five kills in the set, helping Chattanooga earn a 25-18 decision after the opening game.
With the score 13-11 the second stanza, UTC used six attack errors from the Mountaineer and two more kills from Alvarado to steal eight of the next nine points to go up 21-12. Freshman Briana Reid (Houston, Texas) provided the finishing touches with a kill on an assist from Camacho to seal the second set 25-16.
App State fought hard after the intermission, rallying from a 16-9 deficit behind five Chattanooga service errors to cut the lead to 24-21 at match point. A timeout by Filar to calm his team down proved to be a great decision for the second-year head coach, as they closed out the match on the next serve.
Chattanooga earned their first win in a SoCon opener since defeating Georgia Southern 3-1 on Sept. 27, 2008. The Mocs will look to build on their success Saturday as they welcome Western Carolina to Maclellan Gym.
"The atmosphere will be a little different tomorrow," Filar said. "We have to create energy and atmosphere regardless who is in the stands. I think we carry it over with our momentum. We played really well. All the things we knew we needed to do, we did tonight. Our team feeling good about that will be great in allowing us to carry momentum going into tomorrow."
SoCon opening weekend continues at Maclellan Gym Saturday evening as UTC takes on Western Carolina at 3 p.m. Admission is free and the match will feature post-match autographs from the players and coaches.