Freshman Ashley Caesar led the team in kills with 13 in the Braves’ 3-0 sweep of Chowan University Hawks. PN photo/Trevon Knight
After kicking off family weekend with a pair of lopsided losses the UNCP volleyball team responded with a landslide victory of their own by defeating the Hawks of Chowan University 3-0 at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court on Sept. 29.
“I think we’re very resilient. I think we did respond well after being put in a tough situation so I’m proud of our toughness to be able to bounce back,” said Head Coach Ellen McGill.
In their second match of the day with a home crowd full of family members and friends showing their support, the Braves had tremendous contributions from a group of first- and second-year players propel them to a hard-fought victory to end the weekend on a high note.
“We give up a little bit of experience on the court, but I think that means that we’ll be very strong in the future with some young ones getting so much playing time,” said McGill.
The first set was tightly contested and was within one point until the Black and gold would use a 9-2 rally after being down 9-8 to take the lead and would not relinquish it.
The Hawks were able to get within striking distance by trailing by three points before a kill from freshman Brianna Warren would close out the initial set 25-21.
In set No. 2 the Braves were extremely efficient in scoring registering an impressive .436 attack percentage as a team and even though they found themselves 21-20 late, they would go on to score five on the next six points to secure the second consecutive set.
Freshman Ashley Caesar would tally six of her team leading 13 kills in the second set and posted a .458 attack percentage through the first couple sets.
“She stepped up for us. She did a good job of making herself available in transition and I look forward to seeing more from her moving forward,” said McGill.
Warren would convert an impressive 8-of-11 attempts for a .636 mark in the same two set span.
“She’s been doing a great job. Especially as a freshman, she showed a lot of poise out there,” said McGill of Warrens contributions and development.
The Braves would complete the sweep over the visiting Hawks in the third set 25-23, but it proved to be the most tightly contested of the match.
At first it did not seem as if the Black and Gold have any problem putting the game away as they jumped out to an early five-point advantage only to have Chowan claw their way back to within a single point at 24-23.
Following a UNCP timeout, sophomore Kaila Crowder would extinguish any chance of a comeback with a clutch kill and her fifth of the set to close out the set and secure the match for the Braves.
Crowder would finish second on the team in kills on the day with a dozen, Warren would add one more kill in the last set to finish third in kills with nine and sophomore Tyler Fitzpatrick would chip in eight kills on the day to finish fourth on the team.
The Braves would have three players finish with double digit digs.
Freshman Shannon Skryd continues to impress in her first season with the program finishing third in digs on the day with 13.
While senior Bailee Jones and junior would end this contest tied for the team lead in digs with 15 a piece, Jones led the team in assists yet again with 41 compared to a combined nine from her teammate’s collective efforts.
“I think we played well enough to win, but I think we have a lot more in us. I think we could have executed a little bit better,” McGill said of her team’s overall performance.