The Chattanooga Mocs’ indoor volleyball team took the first set over Western Carolina hitting a match-high .270 but could not hold off the Catamounts’ comeback in the match on Saturday night inside Maclellan Gymnasium. WCU moved to 2-0 in Southern Conference play with a 3-1 (20-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-20) victory in Chattanooga.
SET 1 ∙ UTC 25, WCU 20
SET 2 ∙ WCU 25, UTC 17
SET 3 ∙ WCU 25, UTC 16
SET 4 ∙ WCU 25, UTC 20
For the first time since the 2018 season, the Mocs took a set over the Catamounts. WCU was up 13-8 midway through the set, forcing UTC to call timeout and the home team began their comeback. UTC’s 11-6 run was led by multiple aces, capped off by Abby Ekeler’s first ace of the match, tying the set at 19. After WCU called its first timeout, the Mocs ended the opening frame on at 5-1 run with Maia Rackel behind the service line. Chloe Bryan tied her career high for kills in a match with five by the end of the first set. Rackel and Bryan both had no errors in the first set with Bryan leading the match hitting .625. Neither team recorded a block in the first.
WCU got ahead early again and did not give up the lead this time. The Catamounts forced the Mocs to call timeout down 12-7, but UTC was unable to come close to WCU’s lead. The Catamounts held a 5-8 point lead throughout the rest of the set. The Catamounts hit .238 in the set with six errors on 42 swings.
The Catamounts brought their momentum into the third set and held a 10-2 lead early in the frame. The Mocs got within six, but never tied the set again as WCU took a 2-1 lead in the match. UTC recorded 11 kills in the set, but also had nine errors hitting a match-low .057.
Like the second set, the Catamounts held a lead early in the set. After a Bryan kill and back-to-back aces from Marcelle Baez-Carlo, WCU called a timeout up 11-9. The Mocs came back within one with a Chandler Alter kill to bring the set to 20-19. The Catamounts won the next five points to take the match in four.
In the back row, Paige Gallentine was strong defensively, posting 22 digs and four assists. Her 22 digs was tied for a match best. The Catamounts targeted her 37 times with the serve and the Mocs’ libero made just one reception error. The Fenton, Mich. native also added an ace.
Offensively, Bryan led the match with a career-best 12 kills. She had just one error on 23 swings, hitting a match-high .478. Rackel joined her in double figures with 11 and finished one dig shy of her second career double-double.
Neill was one kill short of the double-digit mark, setting a career high with nine kills.
Both teams ran a 6-2 and Bossong led the match with 30 assists, she posted an ace and a kill to go along with eight digs. Ekeler split the setting duties with Bossong and tallied 11 helpers and seven digs.
Defensively, Liz Tomlin was second on the squad with 14 digs. Baez-Carlo led the squad with two aces and a pair of blocks in just two sets of action.
Western Carolina hit .219 led by Merry Gebel’s 14 kills and a .333 clip.