ASHEVILLE, N.C. - UNC Asheville volleyball coach Julie Torbett earned her 300th career victory Saturday afternoon as the Bulldogs rallied past Radford 3-2 in Big South Conference volleyball action at Justice Center. Asheville won the match 23-25, 23-25, 25-18, 27-25, 15-13.
The Bulldogs (15-10, 7-4 BSC) did it the hard way as they lost the first two sets and then trailed 19-14 in the fourth game but somehow came back and won 27-25. In the fifth set, Radford led 8-3 only to see the home team outscore the Highlanders 12-2 to give Torbett her milestone win.
The Bulldogs were led by a sensational performance from Kelsey Benorden who had 14 kills and a career-high 33 digs. Cindi Miller finished with 13 kills and 16 digs. Alex Stewart had a game-high and career-best 40 digs. Meredith Foster had nine kills and five blocks.
The hard-luck Highlanders (8-18, 2-9 BSC) were led by Laura Waddell with 15 kills. Carly Fleming added 13 kills. Megan McWhorter had 12 kills and 20 digs. Kately Meeks led the Radford defensive effort with 35 digs.
"What a win," stated Torbett. "I'll remember this victory that's for sure. I'm really proud of our team to come back like we did. We didn't play badly in the first two sets but Radford was able to get the key points when it had to. That's a credit to them.
"Kelsey Benorden was just tremendous today," added Torbett. "She played like a senior co-captain. Kelsey was great on defense and had some big kills for us when we had to have them."
Radford won the first two sets both by 25-23 scores. Asheville roared back in the third set to win 25-18. Holley Shelton had three kills and two blocks in the third set.
The key set was the fourth Radford led most of the way and led 19-14 after a kill from McWhorter. But the Bulldogs roared back and went on a 10-2 run to lead 24-21. RU fought back with three points to knot the match at 24-24. It would stay tied until a service error from the Highlanders and a kill from Shelton gave the Bulldogs the fourth set.
The Highlanders raced to an early 8-3 lead until a kill from Benorden made it 8-4. The senior went back to serve and picked up an ace to make it 8-5 and two more kills from Shelton and Miller made it 8-7. Radford's last lead was at 10-9 as the Bulldogs scored the final six points to win the match 15-10.
Asheville continues its six-game homestand on Tuesday when it hosts Presbyterian Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Radford goes to High Point for a 7 p.m. match on Tuesday.