CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga volleyball team has three matches remaining in the regular season and all of them are crucial now with the first coming against Appalachian State on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Lady Mocs then travel to Western Carolina for a 3 p.m. match on Sunday.
Last weekend, Chattanooga had an opportunity to improve its positioning in the Southern Conference North Division, but lost two five-set heartbreakers at Maclellan Gym against Elon and UNCG. Only the top four teams in each division advance to the SoCon Tournament in Boone, N.C.
With a victory over the Mountaineers on Saturday, Chattanooga puts itself in a position to qualify for the tournament, but would need help from conference-foes Samford, UNCG and Elon to knock off Appalachian State to close out the season. The Lady Mocs also have to defeat Western Carolina and Davidsion.
Live stats are avaliable for both matches through the schedule page of GoMocs.com. Western Carolina provides a free video broadcast that can be accessed through the volleyball schedule page.
The Lady Mocs return to Maclellan Gym to close out the regular season agaisnt Davidson on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. Seniors Courtney Barnes (Franklin, Tenn.), Bailee Chastain (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Jessica Scott (Lawrence, Kan.) will be honored prior to the match against the Wildcats.
UTC all-time vs. Appalachian St.: 21-32
Series History: The Mountaineers have won seven of the past 12 meetings starting in 2004, Chattanooga took a 3-1 victory at Maclellan Gym on Oct. 10. From 1996-2003, the Lady Mocs posted victories in 11 of 13 matchups.
Scouting Report: Appalachian State enters the weekend with a 15-9 overall record and has defeated Elon, Western Carolina, The Citadel Davidson and Samford in conference play. The Mountaineers have posted non-conference victories against Temple, Akron, USC Upstate, Eastern Kentucky, East Tenn. St., High Point and UNC Wilmington. Four players junior outside Kelly Rhein, sophomore outside Meghan Forshey, junior outside Anna Wagner and junior outside Maggie Seeds each have posted more than 2.00 kills per set on the season. The combination of junior Kasey Sauls and freshman Lauren Brown have distributed the ball on the attack with 5.71 and 3.98 assists per set, respectively. Sophomore libero Courtney Rhein has registered 4.63 digs per set, second in the conference, while senior middle Caroline Sedon and junior middle Alison Balasingame have been active on the block with 1.34 and 1.16 blocks per set. Head coach Matt Ginipro is in his third season guiding the Mountaineers.
GAME #31 | CHATTANOOGA (10-19, 5-8 SOCON) at WESTERN CAROLINA (6-22, 1-11 SOCON)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7 | 3 P.M. | RAMSEY CENTER | CULLOWHEE, N.C.
UTC all-time vs. Western Carolina: 32-30
Series History: The Lady Mocs have taken the last 10 meetings between the two schools dating back to 2005, which includes a 3-0 sweep on Oct. 9 at Maclellan Gym. The teams have matched up every season since 1983.
Scouting Report: The Catamounts knocked off UNCG early in the conference season. They have defeated Bethune-Cookman, North Carolina A&T, South Carolina St., Eastern Kentucky and Coppin St. in the non-conference slate. WCU is lead by senior outside Paloma Alvarez with 2.98 kills per set along with sophomore right side Amanda Chaparro with 2.31. The duo of junior Emily Franklin and freshman Kelcie Randazzo have registered 7.16 and 3.28 assists per set, respectively, as the team's setters. Defensively, freshman libero Morgan Cochran has compiled 4.19 digs per set, while freshman middle blocker Leah Best has averaged 0.68 blocks per set. Head coach Manuel Conception is in his ninth season guiding Western Carolina.
BARNES NAMED ESPN ACADEMIC FIRST TEAM
Senior middle blocker Courtney Barnes was selected to the ESPN Academic All-District IV First Team voted upon by CoSIDA. This was the third time that Barnes has earned recognition, but the first team honors is her first. She leads the Lady Mocs with 2.33 kills per set, while hitting .337 percent, fourth in the SoCon. She has compiled a career percentage of .310, second all-time in Chattanooga history. The Franklin, Tenn., native paces the team with 20 solos blocks and is second with 87 total blocks. Barnes is now nominated for the ESPN Academic All-America Team set to be released on Nov. 22.
The two losses over the weekend coupled with Samford taking both of its matches has placed Chattanooga in a difficult position to reach its goal of the SoCon Tournament. Only the top four teams in each division advance and Chattanooga is currently on the outside looking in. With just three matches remaining, the Lady Mocs need to win out to finish at 8-8 and hope that Appalachian State ends its season at the same record or worse, since Chattanooga would hold the tiebreaker on the Mountaineer. ASU is 6-5 in the SoCon and had Western Carolina, Chattanooga, Samford, UNCG and Elon remaining on it schedule, while UTC has the Mountaineers, Catamounts and Davidson left.
HOT START AGAINST UNCG
Chattanooga came out quickly against the Spartans and recorded 25-18 and 25-20 victories to start the match, but after dropping the third set following the intermission. The Lady Mocs were down 24-20 and came within a point on consecutive kills by sophomore right side Christina Teter before UNCG closed the set out 25-23. The fifth set was all Spartans as they jumped out to a 9-4 advantage and did not look back in taking the match 15-8.
IMPRESSIVE DEFENSE VS. ELON
Even though the Lady Mocs fell in five-sets to the Phoenix, sophomore libero Paula Passmore set a tone for the match with 11 digs in the first set on her way to a career-best 38 and setting a team season-mark with 102. Sophomore outside Heather Parman notched her fifth double-double of the season with season-highs 18 kills and 22 digs. Freshman setter Tess Kosycarz also played well for Chattanooga totaling a career-high 55 assists during the match. The Lady Mocs fell behind 2-1 in the match and fought back to force a decisive fifth set, but were unable to complete the come back.
Sophomores Heather Parman and Meagan Ernd have hit their stride over the past six matches in notching 132 kills more than 3.00 kills per set. Ernd recorded a career-best 20 kills without an error in the thrilling five-set loss to Furman, while Parman recorded 18 against the Paladines and Phoenix and 16 at the Bulldogs along with 12 against UNCG. The presence of the outsides has opened up the offense for Chattanooga even more as it still has two talented middles in senior Courtney Barnes and junior Ellie Kuhn, who have put the team on their backs at times this season.
BLOCKING COMES UP BIG FOR CHATTANOOGA
Chattanooga put up big blocks against Samford and recorded a season-high 14 during the contests. Barnes paced the Lady Mocs with a career-high eight including a solo block, while senior setter Bailee Chastain set a season-high with five. The 14 total blocks were the most since Chattanooga posted 18 at Mercer on Oct. 12, 2004. The Lady Mocs controlled the net, which forced 32 Samford mistakes.
KNOCKING OFF SAMFORD
Samford is the one team in the Southern Conference that has given the Lady Mocs some issues over the past couple seasons. Chattanooga ended that on Oct. 17 with a 3-1 victory at the Pete Hannah Center. Its second-set, 26-24, victory was key in gaining confidence, which snapped a 19-consecutive set losing streak against the Bulldogs. The match put the two teams in a deadlock for fourth position in the SoCon standings with just five contests remaining, only the top four teams in each division advance to the tournament in Boone, N.C., on Nov. 19-21.
PASSMORE NEARING CAREER DIGS LIST
Passmore has recorded 607 digs this season is seventh all-time, just behind Dominique Mayor (2004) and Kylie Hunter (1991) tied for fifth at 609. Volunteer assistant coach Lara Newberry holds the top four marks with heir lowest total at 721 in 2006. In her two-year career, the Merritt Island, Fla., native has recorded 11153 passing Jenny Kulwinski (1996-99) at 1,116 for 10th all-time. She is currently leading the Southern Conference with 5.52 digs per set and ranks 11th nationally. Passmore is just six digs away of passing her career-mark set last season with 546.
CLIMBING THE CAREER CHARTS
Senior setter Bailee Chastain has registered 643 assists so far this season, totaling 1,847 and passed former teammate Michaela Huff (2005-08) with her 20-assist performance against Samfrod. The Chattanooga, Tenn., native is now eighth on the UTC all-time assists charts and should pass Karen Tate (1986-89) with 1,896 this weekend.
MOVING UP THE BLOCK LIST
Barnes has passed LuAnn Spangler at 48 on the block solos career chart with 55, so she is now ninth all-time at Chattanooga and need three more to move into eighth. She also moved past Robin Jackson (1991-95) with 261 total blocks. Next up on the chart is Heather Strohl (1990-92) with 270. Barnes has also overtaken Sarah Bass (2004-07) with 206 block assists.
KUHN APPROACHES CAREER BLOCKS
Kuhn paces the team with 97 total blocks this season. She has compiled 240 in her career, eighth all-time, along with 209 blocks assists, which is seventh just infront of teammate Barnes. Kelly Ramsay (2002-05) is sixth on the block assists list with 222. Kuhn set the Chattanooga block assist record last season with 103.