The Lady Catamount volleyball squad returned to action last weekend after a triumphant end to last year’s season. WCU went on a late run down the stretch in conference action last fall and emerged as one of the dominant teams in the SoCon.
Davidson finally ended the Lady Cats’ streak in the semifinals of the conference tournament, a hard-fought contest lasting all five games. Western accomplished all of this with a team which lacks a single senior, which no doubt leaves potential to compete with anyone in the 2001 campaign.
Western Carolina kicked off their year by hosting the third annual Spring Fling this past weekend. The Lady Cats won the four-team event, which also included Southern Conference rivals East Tennessee State and Wofford, as well as Big South power UNC Asheville.
The Lady Cats entered the finals against East Tennessee State with an undefeated record in the qualifying rounds. The squad was led by 2000 All-Southern Conference and Southern Conference All-Tournament selection junior Christy Attebury. They topped the Lady Buccaneers of ETSU with scores of 27-30, 30-19 and 15-9.
Meanwhile, in the consolation match, Wofford grabbed third-place honors over the Lady Bulldogs. The Lady Terriers opened with a narrow 30-28 win in the first game but coasted 30-17 in the second to take the match.
The tournament instituted a new twist in Southern Conference play. International rules, which will be instituted for the first time in 2001, feature a rally scoring to 30 with the fifth game only to 15 and best of five games. For this tournament, however, the squads only played best of three games.
The Lady Catamounts have filled their spring schedule with the maximum allotment of three competitive tournaments. On March 31, Western will compete in a field featuring much stiffer competition. They will travel to the University of Tennessee to take on Division 1A powerhouses such as the Lady Volunteers, Ole Miss, and Virginia Tech.
They will close out their spring tournament season on April 14 at Wake Forest. The field there will feature the Lady Deacons, fellow Atlantic Coast Conference squads Duke and Clemson, Coastal Carolina, and arch rival Appalachian State.