By Chris Jones, Sports Writer
Western Carolina University made quick work of the Bulldogs on Tuesday, Sept. 1, in the Ramsey Center, defeating the visiting UNC Asheville women’s volleyball team 3-0. Jo-Leigh Vervelde, Catamount sophomore, backed the WCU sweep of the Bulldogs with a triple double of 21 assists, 11 digs and 15 kills.
With the loss, UNCA’s record drops to 1-3 for the season and keeps Frederico Santos, UNCA women’s volleyball head coach at 99 wins.
“We didn’t perform at our best tonight and Western Carolina was able to capitalize on us not playing well. We will have to work on and practice to be more consistent and playing in sync together as a whole,” Santos said.
Christine Lakatos, Bulldogs senior, led the UNCA team with eight of the team’s 29 kills in the match. Lakatos had 10 digs, senior Catherine Pfeiffer and senior Cat Fischer had 12 digs apiece. The team, as a whole, had 29 kills and 58 digs.
The first set was 20-25, second set 15-25 and the third set 21-25, all going in WCU’s favor. The first set started off tight as the teams were tied 14-14, then the Catamounts went on a 11-6 run to close out and win the set. The second set was all Catamounts, as they ran away with the set and won the set 25-15. The third and final set was a back-and-forth affair as both teams changed leads eight times and tied scores 10 times in the set. In the third set, everything was even until the score quickly changed from 14-14 to 16-14, when Catamount Jo-Leigh Vervelde scored two kills in a row to start off a match winning and closing 11-7 run.
“We played a great match out there. I’m proud that the team executed on the game plan we set and practiced on. Everyone played great and it was a fun match to watch, especially when everyone was out there hustling and diving on the floor out there,” said Travis Nead, WCU assistant volleyball coach. “You always want your team to try and play at the best of their abilities and it makes you feel great when they perform well in that aspect of play.”
The win improved WCU’s record to 2-2 for the season. Alyssa Zupan, Catamount freshman, and Savannah Kohlhagen helped the Western offense with eight kills each. Sophomore Kaycey Cermin scored seven kills and tied the team with five blocks.
“Our team’s freshmen played fantastic for us today, so did the rest of our team. We started off playing really good and we kept it going for the rest of the match,” said Karen Glover, WCU head coach. “I’m very proud of each and every one our staff and players in this win. Jo-Leigh played great tonight and was one of the reasons we earned the sweep tonight. We can hope to use this win as momentum and bring it with us in our next match.”
UNCA returned home on Friday with a win over Montreat College and will next host the UNCA Invitational, September 10-12, in the Justice Center.