CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Senior setter Courtney Stewardson dished out a match-high 69 assists and junior middle blocker Nicole Palazzo led all hitters with 24 kills to lead Furman (19-6, 12-3) to a 3-1 victory over Chattanooga (16-12, 11-4) in a Southern Conference volleyball match Friday evening in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Paladins defeated the Lady Mocs 30-22, 30-24, 29-31 and 30-26 for the season sweep.
The two teams battled through the first half of Game 1, notching 12 ties before Furman pulled ahead 19-15 on a 4-0 run. Chattanooga rallied to within three points several times but would get no closer as the Paladins extended their lead to 26-20 before closing out the game, 30-22, for a 1-0 match lead.
Chattanooga battled back in the second game, taking an early 11-6 lead before another 4-0 run by Furman drew them to within 11-10. From there, the teams once again were evenly matched, deadlocking four more times before the Paladins took an 18-15 lead and stretched that to a 23-17 advantage. The Lady Mocs would pull to within three points, 26-23, but could get no closer as Furman closed out the game with a 4-1 run for a 30-24 victory.
In Game 3, Chattanooga jumped out to a lead of 15-10 only to see the Paladins surge back to take the lead 19-17 on a 9-2 run. Trailing 22-20, UTC rallied to take a 23-22 lead only to see it evaporate behind a 5-1 run that once again staked Furman to a lead, this time, 27-24. With the score at 29-27, and facing match point, the Lady Mocs rallied take the next four points, and the game, 31-29, to get on the board in the match, 2-1.
That new lease on life would be short lived, however, as Chattanooga could not sustain their run into Game 4. With the score tied at 9-9, Furman posted a 7-2 run to take a 16-11 lead. The Lady Mocs would pull to within four points, 20-16, before the Paladins pulled out to a 29-22 advantage. UTC once again made a valiant effort facing match point, getting to within 29-26 behind four consecutive points, but this time it would not be enough as the Paladins pulled out the game, 30-26, and the match 3-1.
In addition to their offensive performances, Stewardson and Palazzo each contributed defensively for Furman, posting 15 digs and five blocks, respectively. Palazzo was joined on the offensive attack by senior middle blocker Kerry Wooten and junior outside hitter Allison West with 19 kills apiece while senior outside hitter Chibuzo Aguocha added 13 kills, 16 digs and six blocks. Defensively, freshman libero Brooke Ellison led the way with 26 digs while West and junior libero Pamela Gehrke added 12 and 11 digs, respectively.
For Chattanooga, senior middle blocker Leslee Ball (Sycamore, Ill.) paced all UTC hitters with 16 kills while senior middle blocker Sarah Bass (Baton Rouge, La.) added 13 kills. Senior outside hitter Jamie Engel (Troy, Ill.) also finished with 13 kills and added 17 digs. Freshman setter Bailee Chastain (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) led the team with 55 assists while junior libero Lara Newberry (Chattanooga, Tenn.) posted a match-high 31 digs. Senior middle blocker Julianna Martinez (Austin, Texas) rounded out the offensive attack with 10 kills and freshman outside hitter Aurore Kullak (Beloeil, Belgium) and senior outside hitter Kelsey Amundson (Houston, Texas) added 13 and 10 digs, respectively.
The Lady Mocs will wrap up the home portion of their schedule on Sunday when they host the Wofford Terriers on Senior Day at Maclellan Gym. First serve is set for 2 p.m.
Due to ongoing construction on Mabel Avenue there will be a higher level of traffic congestion around Maclellan Gym. Please plan accordingly.