Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tigerville, S.C.—The North Grenville women’s volleyball team swept its Saturday slate of games on Saturday taking a 3-1 decision from Coker and a 3-0 win over Clark Atlanta. The Crusaders improved to 3-1 on the season, their best start since 2012.

NGU took on Coker in its first game of day two, and the game remained close until the midway point. The Cobras led a majority of the match, but opened up their advantage later on, scoring seven straight to take a 22-13 lead. The Crusaders would claw back to within five after scoring four straight, cutting the Coker lead to 22-17. The Cobras would go on to score three consecutive points after the NGU rally to take the first set 25-17.

Set two continued much the same way for NGU, as Coker led from the opening serve, taking an early 12-7 lead, forcing North Greenville to take a timeout to regroup. The Crusaders seemed to be struggling until a Rachel Burts kill seemed to spark NGU. The Crusaders closed the lead to just two, and eventually pulled to within one of the Cobras which lead 21-20. The Cobras fought back and regained a three point lead, but NGU had an answer. The Crusaders rattled off five straight points including a kill from Rachel Burts and a service ace from Kelsey Shannon which won the game for the Crusaders, evening the set total at 1-1.

The Crusaders finally worked themselves into an early lead in game three, taking an 8-5 advantage. The Cobras would pull to within one later in the match making the score 14-13 in favor of the Crusaders. The Cobras would fight back late in the match to take a 21-20 lead, but NGU answered the challenge. Two services aces from Ashlyn Henderson regained the lead for NGU, and a final kill from Rachel Burts put the game away, as the Crusaders earned a 2-1 set lead with a 25-22 win. Burts finished the set with three kills. Kenzie Pierce also had a solid showing at the service line with two aces of her own.

The Crusaders lead for much of the fourth set, but the Cobras took a late 21-19 lead taking momentum from NGU. The Crusaders then scored the next five points to take a 24-21 lead. The Cobras pulled to within two, but a Kenzie Pierce kill ended the comeback attempt, as the Crusaders took a 25-23 win and the set total with a 3-1 victory.

Rachel Burt and Elizabeth James led the NGU offense in game one with nine kills each. Hannah Lewis led all defenders with 16 digs on defense, while Ashlyn Wilkinson led the way with 19 assists.

Box Score (NGU vs. Clark Atlanta)

The Crusaders headed into the night cap against Clark Atlanta looking to go 2-0 on the day, and improve to 3-1 on the season. NGU’s quest for an undefeated Saturday started out on the right track, as the Crusaders took a 25-22 set win and a 1-0 lead in the set totals. NGU trailed early 9-6, but battled back to take an 18-14 advantage. The Panthers stayed in the game however, and eventually pulled to within one of NGU. The Crusaders would allow just two more points in route to the first set win.

The Crusaders earned more control of the game in the second set, but not before CAU put together a quick comeback. NGU jumped out to a quick 18-9 lead, and looked to be cruising to a 2-0 set lead, but the Panthers clawed their way back into the set. Clark Atlanta scored 12 of the next 15 points to pull to within just one of North Greenville which now lead by a small margin of 21-20. The Crusaders would lockdown after a regrouping timeout however, and with the help of Rachel Burts who was 4-4 in kills, earned a 25-21 win and a 2-0 set lead.

The Crusaders remained in the driver’s seat for much of the third set but not as comfortably as they would have liked. The Panthers stayed within three of North Greenville, and pulled to within 18-17 late in the set before a service error ended the rally for CAU. Clark Atlanta would once again pull close  closing the gap to 21-20. The Crusaders would win the next five points however as Kenzie Pierce put down the winning kill to give NGU a 25-20 win and a 3-0 set win.

Pierce led the way for NGU in the game against CAU, leading all scorers with 13 kills, she also added an ace at the service line. Rachel Burts also had a solid game, scoring seven kills on twelve total attempts. The Crusaders were also effective at the service line, dishing out 11 aces. Hannah Lewis led the ace count with three of her own while, Jenna Farrato and Kelsey Shannon had two service aces a piece. Lewis also led the team on defense with 20 digs while Elizabeth James had 18 assists.

NGU will return to action on Tuesday at Truett McConnell College. The Crusaders are scheduled for a 6pm start time against the Bears in Cleveland, Georgia.