Volleyball team puts up fight against Eagles

By Chris Jones, Sports Staff Writer – cjones5@unca.edu

The UNC Asheville women’s volleyball team rallied back to win the third set after dropping the first two Friday night, but the Eagles came right back and snatched up the fourth set to stop any hopes of another comeback in Asheville.

“Tonight was a very exciting match to watch and was very competitive, lots of back and forth action tonight,” said Frederico Santos, Asheville women’s volleyball head coach. “We started the match pretty slow and lost the first couple sets. So we had to play catch up and we came back to win the third, but couldn’t get another set to bring it to a fifth set. We weren’t consistent  and that’s what eluded us from a victory, and Winthrop’s great play tonight. The fans tonight were great, and are always fantastic here at the Justice Center. That’s why its a hard place to play and it gives us an advantage and we would like to keep it that way.”

Asheville has dropped the opening two sets in their past two matches. They forced a fifth set as they rallied down from 0-2 before falling in the fifth set and losing the match against the Liberty Flames Saturday. On Friday night, Winthrop ran up to a two set to zero lead over the Bulldogs, winning the sets 25-18 and 25-16 respectively.

Asheville won the third set in convincing fashion 25-17 and looked like they regained their confidence and were ready to turn things, but Winthrop had other plans.

The fourth set was a back-and-forth affair as both teams battled to capture the set, Asheville trying to even up the sets and take it to a fifth set, and Winthrop trying to close to game out early. There were 12 tied scores and three lead changes in the fourth set. In the end, Winthrop’s attack was too much and the Eagles were victorious and won the fourth and final set 25-20 and winning the match three sets to one.

“Great game tonight, very proud of the effort brought tonight by our girls. They were very resilient, communicated and displayed great teamwork and were aggressive and that was the key tonight for our team. We started off the match well and that is always a good thing and also preferred, because it causes us to stay on the game-plan and not deviate and have to change things on the fly to make a quick comeback. UNC Asheville played a great game tonight, and it was very competitive, like always,” said Bruce Atkinson, Winthrop women’s head volleyball coach.

Asheville senior Katie Davis had 19 assists today in the game. Cameron Pryor and Madison Vaughn had three block assists each and Asheville had 12 total in the match. Christine Lakatos had a team-high nine kills and Catherine Fischer collected eight.

Lourdes Rosario, Winthrop freshman, posted a career-high 23 kills, seven digs and three blocks. Nikki Drost scored 16 kills and Emma Weakland had 11. Maria Volstad tallied a team-high 19 digs, while Madilyn McCarty posted a double-double in the match with 52 assists and 11 digs.

“We had a lot of impressive performances tonight out of our team, and overall our whole team played great. Madilyn played awesome tonight and she helped us big time with her production and was a big part of the reason we came out with the victory tonight in Asheville,” said Roberta Santos, Winthrop women’s assistant volleyball coach.

With the win, Winthrop moved to 8-11 and 3-1 in the Big South Conference. UNCA moved to 9-7 and 2-2 in Big South Conference play on the season.

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