The Braves won a one-sided match up over St. Andrews 3-0. PN/photo Trevon Knight
On September 1, the UNCP volleyball team faced off against the St. Andrews University Knights. The Knights returned to Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court after a short rest and an under whelming performance in the FMU invitational the day before the match took place to face the Knights. The Braves defeated the Knights three nil in what was not quite dominant play, but was in decisive fashion.
“I think we had a lot of people step up and make some big plays for us and I’m just really proud of the team overall for bouncing back this weekend and finishing it off with a positive win for us,” said Head Coach Ellen McGill.
Senior Aquia Jones was sensational attacking on the day with a hitting percentage of .433 and a staggering kill percentage of .533. Jones not only led the Braves in kills with 16 in only three sets, she also set a new career high with the outstanding performance.
“I’m just really proud of her. She’s one of our captains and has really been stepping up into that leadership role for us and making big plays and big swings. I’m proud of where she’s at and expect to see more of that this season,” said McGill.
The first set did not get off to the start that the Black and Gold had envisioned and was not indicative of the superb play that would ensue. After finding themselves down by seven at one point 12-7, the Braves would use a 21-12 run to close out and win the set 26-24.
Set number two was the Braves most efficient attacking set of the afternoon with a .325 hitting percentage. It was an evenly contested contest before the home team began to turn up the heat and pull away for the 25-20 win.
“We were just telling them to stay aggressive and swing to the corners and make sure that we were getting our middles (hitters) involved as well so we can open up opportunities at the pins,” said McGill.
The third and final set was almost as tightly contested as the first and saw the Knights tie it up on three separate occasions. Jones was able to register nearly half (7) of her match leading kills in the final set to help the Braves complete the match sweep 25-21.
Freshman Shannon Skryd was relentless in her pursuit of kills and while she came in second on the team with 11 kills, she had a team and match high 39 attempts.
While she only had nine more attempts than Jones and didn’t convert as many into points, her kills appeared to be decisive, strategic and timely.
“She has stepped up as well. She’s stepped up into that freshmen six rotation outside roll and she’s playing with poise and taking some great swings for us out there,” McGill said.
Senior Bailee Jones was stellar in setting up her teammates for kills as she accounted for all but two of the Braves assists in the match with an impressive 47. Junior libero Anna Heinz once again led the Black and Gold in digs with 26.