The Chattanooga Mocs’ indoor volleyball team’s comeback in the fourth set to Western Carolina came up short after battling back from a double-digit deficit. The Catamounts took the match 3-1 (27-25, 15-25, 25-15, 25-20) inside the Ramsey Center on Thursday afternoon.
SET 1 ∙ WCU 27, UTC 25
SET 2 ∙ UTC 25, WCU 15
SET 3 ∙ WCU 25, UTC 15
SET 4 ∙ WCU 25, UTC 20
The two teams were neck and neck in the first third of the set with the score knotted up at seven. The Catamounts took a 14-10 lead, their biggest to that point of the match. A kill from Gylian Finch and a Liz Tomlin ace put the Mocs back within two prior to a WCU kill bringing the match to the first-set media timeout. The Blue and Gold were down 17-13 before a 4-0 run tied the frame at 17 and forced a Catamount timeout. The third ace of the match for UTC and the first by Sophia Bossong gave the Mocs a 21-18 advantage and WCU called its final timeout. Western Carolina fended off three Mocs set points and tied the set at 24. The Catamounts capped their 6-1 run to end the set and take a 1-0 lead in the match with a 27-25 first-set victory. Both teams hit under .200 in the opening set.
The second set was tied at eight when a hammer from Rackel put the Mocs up one, starting a run of five straight points for UTC to take a 13-8 lead. The Blue and Gold kept their five-point lead into the media timeout with a Rackel ace. After the Catamounts won consecutive points, Finch put down back-to-back kills to give the Mocs an 18-12 advantage. The Mocs’ run didn’t stall. UTC continued its success, winning seven straight points and holding a 22-12 lead. The Blue and Gold took the set on a Catamount service error. UTC hit .414 in the set and held WCU to just six kills and a .074 clip.
Western Carolina began the third set with five straight points. The hosts led by as many as nine and it was three straight kills from Coniah Davis to bring UTC back within six. The Catmounts won four straight points to give them set point. They won the set on the next point to take a 2-1 lead in the match. The Catamounts recorded 17 kills in the set, hitting .293.
UTC had multiple three-point leads early in the second set, but the Catamounts prevailed both times and tied the match at eight. The hosts won seven of eight points early in the set to take a 12-9 lead before a Davis kill halted the run. Out of the media timeout, where UTC was down 15-10, WCU won four of the next five to hold an eight-point advantage. WCU led by nine but five straight points, including three straight kills from Finch brought the Mocs back within four. After a Chandler Alter ace, the eighth of the day for the Blue and Gold, UTC’s deficit was just two. The hosts didn’t let the Mocs get any closer as Western Carolina capped off the match with three straight kills.
Finch led the match with 14 kills and added 18 digs to her line for a double-double. Neill joined Finch in double figures with 12 kills and a .370 hitting percentage. Davis rounded out the trio with more than 10 kills as she posted 11. Finch and Davis recorded solo blocks, while the duo of Finch and Neill combined for the Mocs’ lone block assist of the afternoon.
Bossong quarterbacked UTC’s offense with 42 assists. She was one of four Mocs with double-digit digs as she recorded her ninth double-double of the season with 10.
Gallentine paced the back row with 22 digs and slotted an ace. Rackel completed the quartet with 10 or more digs as she added 12 and tallied nine kills.
Tomlin and Rackel led the match with a pair of aces, while Tomlin’s line was complete with eight digs defensively.
Western Carolina’s Julia Gordon finished tied for a team-high 12 kills and a .310 clip. The Catamounts also had four players with double-digit digs.