In a couple of outings that featured dabs, dances, free taco giveaways and even musical chairs, It was the play of the UNCP volleyball team that provided the best and most impressive entertainment of the day.
Coming off of a hard-fought match against the Peach Belt powerhouse Flagler College Saints, the Black and Gold welcomed a pair on non-conference foes to Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court on Oct.9 in what would result in a pair of displays of absolute dominance by the Braves.
They churned out a pair of their most complete and strongest performances as they overwhelmed the Vikings of Elizabeth City State University and the Trojans of Mount Olive.
The Braves would sweep both opponents three nil on the day and rack up consecutive win for just the second time this season and has officially matched last season’s win total by winning four of their last five matches.
“We have to have a balanced attack, so we can keep the blockers on the other side guessing where its coming from. We had a lot of people step up in the second match today and I’m just really proud of how we played overall,” said Head Coach Ellen McGill.
The Black and Gold would set the tone for their brilliant day of volleyball early on against the Vikings as the jumped out to a whopping 23-9 advantage in the very first set of the match.
The Vikings would go on a 6-0 run to reach double-digit points, but back-to-back blocks would close out the opening set for the home team.
While the Braves didn’t jump out to the same insurmountable lead in the second set as they did in the first, they used a scoring run of 5-0 to take a firm lead and scored the last eight point to close it out.
The final set started out with the visiting Vikings holding an early 9-5 lead before UNCP would knot it up.
However, the Black and Gold would utilize a pair of 5-0 runs to take a larger advantage and then the other to end the match and complete the sweep.
Freshman Brianna Warren recorded a team high eight kills, junior Anna Heinz recorded the most digs with 14 and senior Bailee Jones notched 32 assists.
Freshman Ashley Caesar tied with Warren for the team lead in blocks with three a piece and tied senior Aquia Jones for the second most kills with five.
The Black and Gold would only trail once during the first set and hold leads of 12-4 and 20-7 before scoring the final five points to win the set. All the momentum from the commanding 25-9 victory had the Braves flying high.
“It sets the tone for the whole game and helps us build our confidence and lets us know that we just need to play like we know we can play and good things will happen,” said McGill.
The Trojans would not just lay down for the home team in the ensuing set however.
Set No.2 saw UNCP build up a quick 6-0 lead but would only not let themselves fall behind by double-digit points in consecutive sets. They would cut the Braves lead to just two points at 23-20 before back-to-back kills handed the Braves the win
The third and final set of the match actually saw the visiting Trojans lead for a majority of the match before the Braves went on a 4-0 run to take their first advantage and tallied six of the final seven points to secure the sweep and put a nice exclamation mark on a great day of Black and Gold volleyball.
Aquia Jones would lead the team in kills in this match with 10, and sophomore Kaila Crowder came in second with eight, two of which closed out the set. Freshman Shannon Skryd would tie Heinz for the team in digs with 14 each and Bailee Jones would register a team high 36 assists.