Lady Mocs wrap up regular season with trips to UNC Greensboro and Elon this weekend

Chattanooga volleyball enters the final weekend of the regular season looking to claim one of the top three seeds for the Southern Conference Tournament. UTC will travel to UNC Greensboro for a 2 p.m. match Saturday before heading to Elon for a 1 p.m. match with the Phoenix.


The Lady Mocs (17-12, 12-4) enter the weekend in fourth place in the Southern Conference following a 2-1 week that featured 3-1 victories over Western Carolina and Wofford and a tough 3-1 loss to Furman. Freshman setter Bailee Chastain (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) posted 55 assists against the Paladins while junior libero Lara Newberry finished with a match-high 31 digs to push her total on the week to 86 digs.


Senior middle blocker Leslee Ball continues to lead the team with 4.63 kills and 0.83 blocks per game as well as a .326 hitting percentage while Chastain averages a team-high 11.41 assists per game. Ball is currently second in the Southern Conference in kills per game (4.74), total kills (294) and points per game (5.54) and is sixth in hitting percentage at .317. Chastain has moved into sixth place for assists per game with an average of 11.24 while senior outside hitter Jamie Engel (Troy, Ill.) notches 0.52 aces per game to tie for second in the conference in that category.


Newberry continues to be the top libero in the nation, leading the country with a 7.15 digs per game average and the Southern Conference with a 7.16 average.


As a team, the Lady Mocs continue to lead the nation in digs at 22.9 per game and the conference at 23.02. UTC also allows the third lowest hitting percentage in the Southern Conference, limiting opponents to a .161 percentage.


Entering this weekend, Chattanooga has the opportunity to move up to the second or third seed in the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament. If the Lady Mocs win their final two matches, they will need a Furman loss to move into third place and an Appalachian State loss to move into second. The Paladins face The Citadel on November 9 before hosting the College of Charleston in a key match on November 10. On those same days, the Mountaineers will play host to Davidson and Georgia Southern.


UNC Greensboro (16-14, 9-7) enters the weekend in sixth place in the conference following a 3-0 victory over Davidson on November 4. The Spartans have gone 2-3 in their last five matches, posting a 3-1 win over Wofford and falling to three of the top teams in the conference in College of Charleston, Furman and Appalachian State.


Sophomore outside hitter Branagan Fuller leads the offensive attack for UNCG with 4.08 kills per game and adds an average of 2.83 digs while sophomore setter Lisa Falwell sets up the offense with 11.26 assists per game. Defensively, sophomore libero Katherine Hanners leads the way with 5.04 digs a game. Junior middle blocker Kaitlyn Nortz brings an all-around game with 3.40 kills and 1.13 blocks per game as well as a .300 hitting percentage.


Elon (16-14, 10-6) comes into the final weekend of the regular season in fifth place after a 3-2 win over Davidson on November 3. The Phoenix have gone 3-4 over their last seven matches and have dropped decisions to UTC, College of Charleston, Furman and Appalachian State to go along with victories over The Citadel and Wofford.


Leading the way for Elon is senior middle blocker Emily Lucci who averages 2.83 kills, 2.74 digs, 1.14 blocks and 0.26 service aces per game. She is joined offensively by senior outside hitter Britany Westphal and junior outside hitter Jessica Barrow with 3.09 and 2.71 kills per game, respectively. Senior setter Natalie Moore leads the team with 9.79 assists per game while junior libero Kelley Blakewood averages a team-high 4.22 digs.


The Lady Mocs have continued their dominance over both UNCG and Elon this season, registering a 3-0 victory over the Spartans on October 13 to push their all-time series lead to 21-1 and defeated Elon 3-1 on October 14 to extend that series lead to 7-2. For the Spartans, their lone win in the series came on October 27, 2002 when UNCG posted a 3-0 victory in Greensboro, N.C. Chattanooga has since won the last nine meetings, including both last season by scores of 3-0 and 3-2.


First serve for the November 10 UNC Greensboro match is 2 p.m. while Chattanooga will wrap up the regular season with a 1 p.m. match against Elon on November 11.




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