By Chris Jones, Sports Writer
The UNC Asheville women’s volleyball team opened up the three-day invitational with a 3-1 victory over the University of New Orleans Privateers on Thursday night. This win in the second straight for the Bulldogs, which is the longest winning streak of the season for UNCA.
The first two sets of the match went swimmingly for the Bulldogs as they won both the first and second sets to the score 25 to 17. The Bulldogs had seven kills in the first set and 13 kills in the second. The match got interesting in the third set as the Privateers went on a 21 to 12 run to close out the set and capture their first set of the match.
Frederico Santos, head coach of the UNCA’s volleyball team, said that his team played a great game tonight to open up the invitational.
“This tournament was an idea that us coaches and administration talked about to get more fans and students in to watch to create some excitement for the team and school,” Santos said. “I like the way the team played overall. It was a great game and both teams played aggressive and played for the win. I believe the win against Montreat gave us confidence so we knew what winning was again and we played like that tonight.”
The fourth set was the most exciting set of the match and a series of runs, tied scores and lead changes. There were 11 ties and six lead changes in the set, more than any of the past three sets combined. The set was all tied up at 9-all when the Bulldogs sparked a 12 to 5 run to bring the score to 21-14. Then at the point of desperation, New Orleans came up a 10-3 comeback run backed by Privateer freshman, Kaitlyn Grice’s five kills to bring the fourth set dead even at 24-24. It went back and forth for a few more points, but ultimately UNCA scored three straight points to close out the set and claim the match victory.
“It was great to come up here and play in Asheville. We had a great time playing this match and we hope we can do better tomorrow.” said Shaylene Reimer, New Orleans freshman. “I’m proud of the way my teammates played, this loss will just make us play better the next match and we will learn form what we didn’t do that well.”
Notable players for the UNCA Bulldogs were junior Madison Vaughn, freshman Cara Guthrie, and sophomore Cameron Pryor. Vaughn scored nine kills, three digs, and scored 12 and a half points. Guthrie scored eight kills, six digs, and collected 11 and a half points. And Pryor scored seven kills, one block, and 10 and a half points.
Notable players for the New Orleans Privateers were junior Takierra Boughton, Redshirt sophomore Cara Sander, and freshman Kaitlyn Grice. Boughton had 15 kills, two digs, and 16 points. And Sander had 13 kills, eight digs and 14 points. Grice had 10 kills, four kills, and 12 points.
New Orleans libero and defensive specialist, senior Lauren Levy, had her father Luke in the stands to support the Privateers.
“Our team is a young team, we have six freshmen on the team, a few sophomores, and only six upperclassmen,” Luke Levy said. “This is the time for us to work out the kinks and everything else within the team because we don’t start conference play for another month or so. Our underclassmen get a lot of the court time, too, so this is the time at the beginning of the season that we have to get some experience, learn how to play with one another, see who plays well together, so the team can put together the lineups and sets that will be most effective and successful in the future and now.”
The win moves UNCA to 3-3 on the season and the loss moves the University of New Orleans to 3-4.