East Lansing, Mich. - Seniors Branagan Fuller and Heather Brooks both recorded 15 kills to lead North Carolina to a 3-1 win over UAlbany in both team's season-opening match at the MSU Showcase on Friday evening. The Tarheels won the first two sets, 25-19 and 25-21, before the Great Danes posted a 25-23 victory in the third set. UNC closed out the match with a 25-15 win in the fourth.
The first set remained tight through the opening points before UNC took an 8-7 lead on a Fuller kill. The Tarheels then recorded six of the next seven points before UAlbany setter Brooke Stanley ended the rally with a kill. The Great Danes later got back-to-back kills from Teresa Coppiellie and Valerie Sourbeer to pull within 18-14. The teams exchanged attack errors and kills, but a block assist from Brooks and Courtney Johnston gave UNC match point at 24-19, setting up the final kill by Brooks.
UAlbany jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in the second set, but UNC tied the score at 5-5 by inducing two attack errors and getting a service ace from Aleksandra Georgieva. After a Tarheel error, the Great Danes scored three straight points to regain the lead, with a kill by Kalyn Mostert followed by back-to-back smashes by Hillary White. UAlbany held onto a slim 13-9 lead on a kill by Casey Wright (Ballston Spa), but UNC tied the game up with consecutive kills by Johnston and a UAlbany error. After a final tie at 16-16 on another Wright kill, the Tarheels pulled ahead, 20-17. Coppiellie pulled the Great Danes back within one, 20-19, but UNC wouldn't allow UAlbany to regain another lead, and kills by Brooks and Fuller ended the set.
The third set featured 10 ties in the early going before UAlbany started to pull away after knotting things up at 15-15 on a Sourbeer kill. The Great Danes scored five straight points to go from a one-point deficit to an 18-15 lead on a service ace by Abbey Wexel, her second of the set. UNC attempted to regain momentum with a kill by Suzanne Haydel, but Coppiellie recorded one of her team-high 12 kills and the Great Danes induced an attack error to hold onto a 20-16 advantage. Stanley and freshman Gabby Whitworth combined for a block assist to keep UAlbany ahead, but UNC rallied back to tie the game up at 22-22. Despite one final UNC push with a kill from Brooks, White recorded the last three kills for the Great Danes to give them the third-set win.
The Tarheels came out firing in the fourth, building up a 9-4 lead in the early going, getting three kills from Brooks. UAlbany was able to pull within 15-10 on a Coppiellie kill, but Brooks remained hot, smashing three straight kills to put UNC on top, 18-10. The Great Dane offense never got hot in the final set, as UAlbany only produced a .105 hitting percentage, while the Tarheels hit a match-best .382. Stanley and Sourbeer had kills in the late going, but it wasn't enough to stop UNC, as Megan Owens knocked down the game point on a set from Erica Behm.
Johnston finished with 10 kills for UNC (1-0), while Behm recorded 51 assists and nine digs. Haydel and Kaylie Gibson finished with 13 digs apiece for the Tarheels, while Brooks and Johnston both recorded three total blocks.
White recorded a double-double for UAlbany, finishing with 11 kills and a team-high 18 digs. Stanley also had a double-double, of the assist-dig variety, tallying 41 helpers to go along with 14 digs. Wright, who had a career-high seven kills, also totaled three solo blocks for the Great Danes, who out-blocked the Tarheels, 5-4.
UAlbany (0-1) will return to action at the MSU Showcase tomorrow, taking on the host Spartans at 10:30 a.m. before closing out the tournament against Southern California at 5:30 p.m.
North Carolina (1-0) def. UAlbany (0-1), 3-1 (25-19, 25-21, 23-25, 25-15)
Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information
Friday, August 28, 2009
Posted by BRE at 3:17 PM