By Cory Spaugh
The Lady Catamount volleyball team continues to fight hard on the court, but has yet to win their first match, dropping to 0-10 thus far on the season.
Western took part in the Redbird Classic hosted by Illinois State and the North Carolina State Tournament on Sept. 5 and 6, first taking on the host Illinois State, losing 3-0 (23-25, 13-25, 18-25).
The Catamounts pushed the Redbirds to the limit in the first set, going back and forth in points before the Redbirds were able to close out the Catamounts. After set one, Western was never able to threaten again, losing the next two sets by a combined score of nineteen points. Western had a .158 attack percentage in game one but in games two and three the attack percentage dropped as Illinois State’s continued to rise, having a .500 attack percentage in game two. The Catamounts committed just three more errors then Illinois State, 17 to 14, but had just 24 kills to Illinois State’s 52.
Freshman Brittany Lysik led the Catamounts in both digs (11) and kills (7) while junior setter Katie Hennessey added 21 assists. Junior Amanda Kerr had five kills.
The second match of the tournament saw Western Carolina take on Western Michigan. The Broncos were able to stymie the Catamounts attack and hold WCU 3-0 (12-25, 15-25, 14-25). Freshman Carrie Minogue led the team with six of the team’s nineteen kills in the loss. Hennessey collected assists on fourteen of the nineteen kills.
Western closed out the tournament against Oakland with their first set win, although losing in the end 3-1 (25-20, 11-25, 21-25, 14-25).
The Catamounts won their first game in a match at the Redbird Classic after breaking a 3-3 tie against Oakland and never relinquishing their lead. Western struggled offensively in the second game but the Catamounts were able to rebound in the third match and push Oakland to the limit, before losing in the fourth and final set.
Minoque again led the team in kills with ten. Lysik added nine kills and seventeen digs, and junior Liz Rondone was able to scoop up twenty-two digs. The big hitters, however, were aided by the solid play of Hennessey who dished out thirty-one assists.
Following the Redbird Classic, Western competed in the NC State Classic tournament on Sept. 13, going to battle against the host NC State and William and Mary.
Western’s first test was against the Wolfpack, who the Catamounts fell to 3-1 (25-14, 19-25, 19-25, 19-25). In the first set, Western was able to topple NC State thanks to strong serving and Wolfpack mistakes, but the Catamounts could not pull of a win in tight games in the third and fourth set.
Western was led in the loss by Hennessey who dished out thirty-four assists to her hitters and Rondone who had a stellar defensive performance coming up with twenty-one digs.
Later in the tournament, William and Mary challenged the ladies of Western Carolina and were able to shut out the Catamounts 3-0 (21-25, 20-25, 19-25). Every set was tightly contested, but William and Mary had the clear advantage to pull out the wins.
Junior Amanda Kerr stepped up to lead the team, and set a career high with thirteen kills and Lysik collected fourteen digs, extending her streak to three matches with double digit digs. Kerr, with her career best performance, was named to the All-Tournament team.
In their first home match-up of the season on Sept. 16, the Catamounts played host to UNC-Asheville hoping for their first win, but despite leading late in each of the first three sets, they fell to the Bulldogs 3-1 (26-28, 30-28, 27-25, 12-25).
Minogue shined in the loss with a career-high 19 kills and a .441 attack percentage, committing just four errors in 34 attempts. Teammate freshman Rebecca Stoltz had a career-high five blocks, four of them solo and also had five kills.
“We just couldn’t seem to have a complete game tonight,” said head volleyball coach Stephanie Dragan. “It was a great effort by Carrie and Rebecca and we had some good performances defensively, but overall errors really hurt us.”
Western Carolina hosted the Catamount Clash on September 19-20, but results were unavailable as of press time.The Catamounts next home game is September 27 against UNC- Greensboro when they start play in the Southern Conference.