Volleyball team registers big upset win against Furman

With the season winding down and the SoCon volleyball tournament no certainty, the Western Carolina volleyball team had to either give up on this season or take a shot at finishing strong. On November 6 it looked like the Catamounts decided to give it a shot as they upset Furman 3-1 in the final home game of the year. The Paladins had a record of 19-6 and were thinking they would get an easy road win against the dismal Catamounts, but they were wrong. Western shocked Furman in game one with a 30-24 win. The Paladins rebounded in game two to win 30-24, but WCU took games three and four by the score of 30-25. Sophomore Katie Hennessey played her heart out as she recorded yet another triple double. Hennessey finished with 38 assists, 11 digs, and 11 kills. Senior Meredith Harmon was also outstanding in her final home match as she recorded 17 kills and an excellent .452 attack percentage. Sophomore Liz Rondone was strong as usual as she had 22 digs, while freshman Jelena Jakovljevic also played well again with 15 kills. The surprise of the night came from LaTonia Cunningham. The 6’1″ Cunningham had 11 kills and an amazing .600 attack percentage. Opening the match, Furman took the first point, but Western quickly established a 10-5 lead. The Paladins would use a 5-0 run from that point to tie the game. The action was back and forth until Western took a one-point lead at 15-14. The Cats used a 9-3 run from there to go up by seven points at 24-17. Three straight Paladin points brought the score back within four, but Furman wouldn’t get any closer than three points the rest of the way. After the game one shocker, the Paladins got back to business in game two by jumping out to an 8-3 lead. Furman would continue to lead until Western tied the game at 19 and eventually took the lead at 22-21. The game would continue back and forth until Furman pulled away at the end by scoring six straight points. The Paladins continued their hot streak in game three with a 7-2 early lead. The Cats would use their own 7-2 run to tie the game at nine, but Furman scored two straight points to pull back ahead. Western struck back with three straight points to take a 12-11 lead. The Cats and Paladins would battle for the next few points before the Cats would score three straight to take a 17-14 lead. The run would serve Western well, as they never again lost the lead in the game. The Cats believed they could pull the upset after the game three win and continued to play hot in game four. Western scored two quick points to take the lead, but Furman would go on a 6-2 run to take a two-point lead. The Cats would battle back to tie the game at eight, but a 4-1 run put the Paladins back up. Once again the Cats would rally as they used a 4-1 run to tie the game at 13. The Cats and Paladins would engage in a slugfest with neither team leading by more than three points until Western took a 20-16 lead. The Cats would keep the lead from that point and finish out their most surprising win of the season. The win improved Western’s record to 9-22 on the season and 4-12 in the conference. The Cats still have a chance to get into the eight-team SoCon tournament.