Presbyterian and UNCW share Catamount Clash VI title; WCU finishes 2-2

The Western Carolina volleyball team hosted Catamount Clash VI on September 14 and 15, but the Cats could not protect their house. Western would finish 2-2 in the tourney as Presbyterian and UNC-Wilmington both finished 3-0 to share the tournament title. The Cats started off the tournament with eventual champion UNC-Wilmington. The Seahawks swept Western 3-0 as they won by scores of 30-27, 30-24, and 30-23. Senior Meredith Harmon, sophomores Liz Rondone and Katie Hennessey, and freshmen Ali Rook and Kara Lynzee Brooks all played valiantly in the losing effort. Harmon had 13 kills, while Brooks had 10 kills and Rook had 14 kills and a .321 attack percentage. Rondone finished with 19 digs, while Hennessey recorded a double-double with 11 digs and 34 assists. WCU started off hot with a .333 attack percentage in game one, but was undone by an abysmal .163 and .128 hitting percentage in games two and three. Things got better, however, on Friday night as the Cats beat the Citadel 3-1 to open SoCon play with a victory. The victory marked Western’s first SoCon opener win since 2004. The Cats would beat the Citadel by scores of 30-27, 26-30, 30-21, and 30-21. Hennessey, Rook, Harmon, and Rondone led the way for Western. Hennessey and Rook each had a double-double. Rook had 10 kills and 10 digs, while Hennessey had 49 assists and 15 digs. Rondone had 21 digs, while Harmon finished with 19 kills and a very solid .341 attack percentage. Western trailed for much of game one against the Citadel as they were down by six at 17-11. The Cats would use a 9-3 run to force a tie at 20-all. The game went back and forth after that point as WCU used a 4-1 run from 26-all to win the game. The Citadel went wire-to-wire in game two as they never trailed and led by as many as eight points before winning by four. The Cats would bounce back in game three by going wire-to-wire themselves. The Cats dominated the Citadel throughout the game before winning by nine points. Game four was much of the same as the Cats only trailed at 1-0 and then either led or were tied the rest of the way before winning by nine again. On Saturday, the Catamounts started off the exact same way as they did the day before as they lost 3-0 to one of the eventual Catamount Clash champions. This time the opponent was Presbyterian instead of UNCW. The Blue Hose took it to Western winning the matches by scores of 30-25, 30-21, and 30-26. The Cats committed 25 errors and had a dismal attack percentage of .112 against the Blue Hose. Once again Hennessey, Harmon, Rondone, and Rook led the way. Hennessey finished with 28 assists and 13 digs. Rondone had 12 digs, while Rook had 10 kills. Harmon finished with 11 kills and another solid attack percentage as this time it was .320. Then just like on Friday, the Cats won their second match of the evening. Only this time they played North Carolina A&T and they swept them three games to none (30-21, 30-22, and 30-25). This time the Cats were led by Brooks, Rook, Hennessey, and Rondone. Rondone finished with 17 digs, while Hennessey had 25 assists. Rook had 15 kills and a .333 attack percentage, while Brooks finished with 10 kills and a .348 attack percentage. The Cats dominated the Aggies from the start in game one as they led by as much as 11 points before winning by 9. The Cats did much of the same in game two as they once again never trailed although the game was much closer. The Cats pulled away at the end to win by 8. NC A&T finally led in game three, but their last lead would come at 13-12. The Cats used a short 5-0 run from that point to get some breathing room and would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way. The two wins improved WCU’s record to 5-10 on the year. The senior Harmon landed on the All-Tournament team, while Paula McConnell of UNCW took home MVP honors.