No. 9 Furman Defeats No. 8 Chattanooga Volleyball in Five-Set Defensive Battle

The Chattanooga Mocs’ indoor volleyball team concluded its 2021 campaign with a loss in the first round of the Southern Conference Volleyball Tournament. The eighth-seeded Mocs dropped a five-set contest, 3-2 (27-25, 15-25, 15-25, 25-23, 15-11), to the ninth-seeded Furman Paladins inside Maclellan Gym on Monday evening. The match featured 21 blocks and 216 digs.

SET 1 ∙ FUR 27, UTC 25
SET 2 ∙ UTC 25, FUR 15
SET 3 ∙ UTC 25, FUR 15
SET 4 ∙ FUR 25, UTC 23
SET 5 ∙ FUR 15, UTC 11

Down 9-7, Furman battled back for the match’s first run in the first set. The Paladins won five straight to put the visitors up 12-7. Down 17-13 Chattanooga called its first timeout. The Mocs won three of the next four points to come back within two, forcing the Paladins to call their first timeout up 18-16. UTC regained the lead at 19-18 after a Kate Neill kill for the first time since early in the frame. The Mocs had the first set point of the contest after another Neill but Furman won the next two to take the opening frame. Paige Gallentine posted seven digs in the set, while Chloe Bryan and Neill both registered five kills. Furman’s Bella Tolone had seven kills in the first.

UTC was the team that got out to a lead early in the second, holding a 12-8 advantage through the first 20 points as Furman called timeout. Out of the stoppage, the Paladins won four of the next five to cut their deficit to one. Timeouts continued to work as the Mocs called timeout up 13-12 and won seven of the next eight to take a 19-13 lead in the set. UTC concluded the set on a 4-1 run with a kill from Sophia Bossong, Neill and an ace from Finch to tie the match at one.

The beginning of the third set was closer than the previous two. The set was tied at eight and the Blue and Gold went on a 4-1 run featuring two solo blocks and a kill. UTC continued its third set success, winning six of the next eight to take an 18-11 lead as the Paladins called timeout. The Mocs ended the set, 25-15 with a Makenzie Jordan ace, a kill from Finch and a block from Neill and Bossong. UTC hit .233 and limited Furman to a negative hitting percentage for the second straight set.

The fourth set was back and forth with the two teams splitting the first 24 points. Furman took a 16-15 lead and began a 5-1 run from that point, causing the Mocs to use both of their timeouts. Furman led 23-17 as the Mocs found a spark, winning the next six points to tie the set at 23. The Paladins won the next two points to force a fifth. Both teams hit under .120 in the frame with Furman outhitting UTC .199 – .106. Gallentine had 12 digs in the third, bringing her match total to 32.

Furman got out to the first three-point lead in the last set, 6-3, causing UTC to call timeout. UTC was able to get within two multiple times, but was unable to regained the lead. The Paladins took the set 15-11 to claim the victory.

Gallentine posted 35 digs, a career high for the second-year libero. Her 35 digs in a SoCon tournament match are the best since Sharlissa de Jesus of The Citadel had 35 in 2018.

Three other players, Finch, Rackel and Bossong, all joined her with more than 15 digs.

Finch concluded her stellar career with a double-double, recording 11 kills and 20 digs. Rackel’s senior-year campaign ended with 10 kills and her fifth career double-double, adding 19 digs. Bossong capped off the trio with double-doubles, registering 45 assists and 18 digs. The three players combined for nine blocks, Rackel led the way with five.

Bryan led the squad with 16 kills and three blocks, while second-year attacker, Kate Neill added 13 kills and two blocks.

UTC slotted seven aces led by Finch’s three. Jordan saw the floor for the first time since Oct. 9 and tallied an ace and two digs.

The Mocs and the Paladins combined for 428 attempts and 216 digs. UTC outhit Furman .115 – .090 and registered 112 more digs than the visitors.

Furman’s Tolone led the match with 22 digs and was second on the floor with 25 digs.