The Chattanooga Mocs’ indoor volleyball team competed in South Carolina for the first time this season and the match was one to remember. After dropping the first two sets in Alley Gymnasium, the Mocs battled back, winning the next three, and took the match in five (25-27, 17-25, 25-16, 25-18, 15-11) for their first Southern Conference win of the season on Friday night.
SET 1 ∙ FUR 27, UTC 25
SET 2 ∙ FUR 25, UTC 17
SET 3 ∙ UTC 25, FUR 16
SET 4 ∙ UTC 25, FUR 18
SET 5 ∙ UTC 15, FUR 11
Like the majority of first sets have gone this season for UTC, the first frame in Greenville was neck and neck. Aleya Kennedy recorded her first kill of the night to tie the set at six and then with just her second serve of the season, slotted an ace to give the Mocs an early 7-6 advantage. Furman regained the lead and its two-point advantage, up 15-13. The Mocs came back quickly and a kill from UTC’s libero, Paige Gallentine, gave the Mocs a 16-15 lead.Down two late in the set the Paladins went on a 3-0 run to retake the lead and force the Mocs to call the match’s first timeout. UTC took back the lead for the first time at 24-23 after a Chloe Bryan kill and a Paladin error. Both teams fended off set points, but ultimately, Furman capitalized on a Mocs error and a kill from Maya Mrus to take the opening set. The Mocs outhit the Paladins .333-.286 in the set.
The Paladins got out to a quick start in the second set and after being down 11-8, the Mocs called timeout. The Blue and Gold put together back to back points with a kill from Coniah Davis and a Kate Neill ace, but couldn’t tie the frame at 11 after a UTC service error. The two teams alternated the next five points and then Furman went on the biggest run of the match, winning five straight points to hold an 18-12 lead. The Paladins did not let up, ultimately taking the second set, 25-17.
UTC got ahead early in the third set, marching on an 8-3 run to take a 13-8 lead in the frame and forcing Furman to call timeout. The Mocs controlled the set from the timeout and held their biggest lead of the match up 20-14 as the Paladins called their second timeout. UTC closed the set with a 5-1 run capped off by a Furman setting error. The set-clinching run consisted of kills from Rackel and Chloe Bryan, a block from Bryan and Marcelle Baez-Carlo and a Sophia Bossong ace. The Mocs held the hosts to a .089 hitting percentage in the third frame. Rackel dominated the third, hitting .538 with eight kills on 13 swings.
Like they did in the third, the Mocs started strong early in the fourth set, forcing Furman to use its first timeout midway through the frame as UTC held a 15-9 lead. After Gylian Finch sparked another 3-0 run, the Paladins called their second timeout down 19-12 in the frame. The two teams split the next 12 points which was enough for the Mocs to force a fifth set. Finch matched Rackel’s kill total from the third set with eight in the fourth. UTC hit a match-high .371 in the frame.
Furman took an early 4-2 lead in the fifth, but three straight points with a block and two kills from Finch gave the Mocs their first fifth-set lead. UTC never gave it up. The Mocs kept the momentum, holding multiple three-point runs throughout the final set. UTC completed the comeback with Finch’s 19th kill of the evening, taking the fifth 15-11. The Mocs only hit .160 in the fifth frame but held the Paladins to a .030 clip. Finch hit .400 in the clinching set with four kills on 10 swings.
After posting just two kills in the opening set, Finch tallied 17 in the final four frames to help lead the charge. She recorded her 20th-career double-double with 15 digs defensively.
Rackel led the match with 21 kills. She hit .275 and was one dig away from her third double-double of the season. Both Rackel and Finch added a block assist.
Bryan was the third Moc with double-digit kills, she recorded 10 and defensively had five blocks. Baez-Carlo played just three sets but led the match with seven blocks.
Eight different Mocs tallied a block in the match. Neill joined Bryan with five, while Bossong added three block assists. Neill capped off her night with five kills and an ace. Bossong quarterbacked UTC’s offense with a match-high 48 assists.
In the back row, Gallentine continued her success, this time she had a match-high 28 digs. Liz Tomlin also logged double-digit digs with nine. After two weeks off, Makenzie Jordan registered nine digs to cap off the Mocs’ defensive effort.