ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Meredith Foster posted a season-high 18 kills as UNC Asheville downed USC Upstate 3-1 in a hard-fought non-conference volleyball contest at Justice Center Tuesday night. The Bulldogs won the match 31-29, 25-20, 20-25, 25-16.
The Bulldogs (10-6) won for the third time in their last four matches, while the injury-riddled Spartans fell to 1-11 on the year.
Bulldog freshman Shelby Erickson contributed a career-high 14 kills and hit .312 for the match. Anna Moore added 10 kills and three blocks for the home team. Rachel Wells had a game-high 27 digs. Madison Vaughn contributed eight kills and five blocks. Catherine Fischer just missed her first career double-double with nine kills and 11 digs. Setter Katie Davis had five kills, three blocks and 53 assists.
USC Upstate was led by Kayla Eversgerd with a match-high 19 kills. She also had 11 digs. Emily Koelling pumped in 15 kills. Morgan Page chipped in a team-high 18 digs.
“We did a nice job tonight with a new line-up,” commented Bulldog coach Frederico Santos. “We got contributions from everybody and beat a scrappy USC Upstate team.”
The key set was the first one. USC Upstate had set point four different times but the Bulldogs were able to get a kill each time to avoid losing the opening set. It took Asheville three set points before finally winning the opening set on a Foster kill at 31-29.
“I was really proud of the way we hung in and won the first set,” declared Santos. “Obviously, that was a big reason we were able to win tonight to get that first set.”
Asheville controlled most of the second set as it won 25-20. Erickson had six kills in the set to spark the Bulldogs. The visitors helped the home team’s cause with seven attack errors. An Erickson kill put Asheville in front 2-0 going into intermission.
USC Upstate won the third set convincingly. The Spartans built an 18-14 lead behind the hitting of Eversgerd. Asheville closed to 19-18 on two kills from Moore. But the visitors would close out the set on a 6-2 run to cut the Bulldogs lead to 2-1.
Asheville quickly took control of the fourth set as Foster and Erickson combined for five early kills. The Bulldogs led 7-1 and built the lead to 20-7. The Spartans made a mild rally and closed to 24-16. But a serve error by the Spartans gave Asheville the final point it need to win the match.
UNC Asheville is on the road this weekend for two key Big South Conference matches. The Bulldogs play at Radford Friday night at 7 p.m., followed by a match with Liberty on Saturday at 2 p.m.