Volleyball team wins two in a row at home

Starting on September 22, the Western Carolina volleyball team produced what was probably their most impressive two-match stretch of the season as they dispatched both Davidson and East Tennessee State. The Cats played both matches at home and faced off against the Davidson Wildcats first. Western dominated Davidson en route to winning three games to none. The Catamounts beat the Wildcats by scores of 30-16, 30-18, and 30-24. The Catamount started off game one against Davidson with a 7-1 run. Soon after, the Catamounts would stretch their lead to 21-6 as they thoroughly demolished the Wildcats. The Wildcats outscored Western 10-9 from that point to make the match look a little more respectable, but Western had come out and set the tone for what would be a slaughter. In game two WCU jumped to an early 3-1 lead, but Davidson would fight back quicker this time. Davidson tied the game at 5-5, but once again the Cats went on a run. This time it was a 16-4 run as the Catamounts went ahead 21-9. The Wildcats played Western even the rest of the way, but it wasn’t enough to keep from being embarrassed again. Davidson finally played decently in game three. The game was very close for much of the first half. WCU led most of the first half but only by one or two points. The Catamounts finally went ahead by three points at 10-7, and they continued to hold the lead by three or more points until Davidson pulled to within two at 18-16. The Cats would use a 9-3 run to put even more cushion between themselves and the Wildcats before winning by six points. WCU was led by their typical four players: Ali Rook, Meredith Harmon, Liz Rondone, and Katie Hennessey. Hennessey finished with 32 assists, while Rondone compiled 20 digs. Rook and Harmon each had double figure kill totals as Rook had 12 while Harmon put up 10. The Cats would be back in action at home on September 26 as they took on East Tennessee State. The Catamounts would continue their winning ways as they beat ETSU 3-1 (30-21, 30-22, 22-30, 30-27). Game one was back and forth in the early stages as the Cats only led by two points at 10-8, but a 14-4 run would break the game wide open for Western. With a 24-12 lead, the Cats finished off the Bucs for a nine-point victory. Game two was much of the same for Western except this time the Bucs fought hard all the way up until they tied at 15-15. The Cats surged ahead from that point with a 9-3 run to grab momentum and control in the game. After the Bucs scored two straight points to cut the lead to four, Western would finish the game with a 6-2 run to win by eight. ETSU would get their revenge in game three as they would break the game open at the 13-12 mark. The Bucs would use an 11-5 run to take control of the game at 24-17. East Tennessee State would ride that momentum until the end of the match and win by eight. After slipping up and letting the Bucs back in the match, the Catamounts would have to put up with a dogfight in game four. Western established an early lead at 7-4 and they continued to stretch their lead up until 15-9. The Bucs fought valiantly and used a 10-4 run to tie the game at 19-all. With their lead gone and having allowed the Bucs to win the previous game, the Cats’ backs were against the wall and it was time to put up or shut up. The Cats used a short 3-0 spurt to get back a little breathing room at 22-19. After allowing a couple of points, the Cats used another 3-0 spurt to go ahead by five at 26-21. ETSU would outscore WCU 6-4 the rest of the way, but it wouldn’t be enough to catch the Cats. Freshman Ali Rook and sophomore Katie Hennessey played outstandingly for the Cats as they both posted double-doubles. Rook had 15 kills and 13 digs, while Hennessey finished with 37 assists and 12 digs. Jelena Jakovjevic and Liz Rondone also played well as Jakovjevic had 14 kills, while Rondone finished with 14 digs. The two wins improved Western’s record to 7-12 on the season. The Cats are now only one win away from their 2006 total of eight wins and they should eclipse last season’s 8-28 mark.