Braves Volleyball Show Grit and Promise in Home Invitational
The Lady Braves returned home to Lumbee Guarantee Bank Court for their home invitational on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. Even though they finished with the same record of 1-3 as they did the previous weekend in the Coker/FMU Invitational, their overall record of 2-6 doesn’t accurately reflect the progress that they have been making from match to match.
After a rough start to their invitational in which the host Braves fell to the Bears of Shaw University, they went the distance against another line up of Bears from Lenoir-Rhyne University before falling 2-3 following the fifth set.
The home team would win the first and fourth set by the same slim 25-23 margin before running out of steam in the final set.
The Black and Gold saw the trio of Shannon Skryd, April Tankersley and Savannah Bean finish with double digit kills, as well as five different players having at least 10 digs.
A new day saw a fresh start for the Lady Braves on the first day of the new month.
After dropping both of their matches on day one of the invitational, UNCP would notch their first win and only win of the weekend in dominate fashion.
In their first match of the day the Black and Gold would sweep the Fayetteville State Broncos three nil in which their opponent would only come within two points just once in the second set 25-23.
The .257 attack percentage that the Braves posted was the highest of their young season and would’ve been the third best mark last year.
Kaila Crowder and Skryd would tie for the team lead in kills with 11 each, Bailee Jones attributed a whopping 41 assists and Anna Heinz finished with 21 digs.
In a rematch of last weekend’s bout with the Cobras of Coker College, the Braves jumped out to an early one set lead, only to drop the next three.
They found themselves in an early 0-2 deficit but would bounce back by winning the third and fourth set, carrying all of the momentum into the deciding set.
The Black and Gold were just five points away from completing their valiant comeback until a 4-0 Cobra slither gave them a 12-10 lead, and even though they would tie the set 13 all, two straight kills from Coker sealed UNCP’s defeat.
Crowder’s 18 kills in the contest were not only a career high for the sophomore but it was also the most by a Braves’ player in three years.
Aquia Jones and Ashley Caesar were not far behind as they both set new career marks with 17 and 15 respectively.
Jones’ 55 assists far exceeded her previous career best and was the most by player in the program in four years and picked up a double-double with 20 digs.
Heinz led the team in digs again with 22 and on the day the Black and gold had five players register at least 11 digs.