BARBOURVILLE — The Union College volleyball team defeated Columbia (South Carolina) 3-0 (25-10, 25-12, 25-15) and dropped a 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 22-25) decision to rival Cumberlands in Cheyenne’s Second Annual Childhood Cancer Awareness Matches.
Union had a special member on their bench in the tri-match, as Candace Lille served as an honorary captain and player for the Bulldogs.
The match with Columbia was part of Appalachian Athletic Conference play. With the split on the day the Bulldogs improve 8-3 overall and 2-0 in AAC play. Union has now won 39 of their last 45 matches in AAC play, including 11 matches in a row.
“On the weekend, we played well overall,” said head coach Jeremy Wise. “We had a great game of focused execution with Columbia. After the break in the tri-match, we lost some of that focus and execution at key moments in the Cumberlands match.”
Union 3, Columbia 0
The Bulldogs cruised past Columbia, holding the Fight Koalas to under 15 points in all three sets played.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs was Marissa Elam (sophomore/Muncie, Indiana), who finished with eight kills in 13 attempts for a .462 hitting percentage. Maggie McGraw (freshman/Elkhorn, Wisconsin) finished with five kills while Jillian Stuff (sophomore/Marengo, Ohio), Rachel Andrews (sophomore/Louisville) and Julia Edmonds (junior/Burlington) finished with four kills each.
Chandler Gray (senior/Alexandria) and Ivana Kazic (junior/Belgrade, Serbia) found their way into the double-digit assist column, as Gray finished with 11 and Kazic with 10. Ana Calaza (senior/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) finished with a match-high 12 digs.
Union collected eight service aces in the match with McGraw and Kazic leading the way with three each.
Cumberlands 3, Union 1
In the most exciting match on the day, both squads combined for 297 total attacks and 96 kills. Despite the huge numbers, the Bulldogs were unable to battle back in a heartbreaking loss.
Leading the Bulldog attack, McGraw finished with a match-high 16 kills in 37 attempts for a .297 hitting percentage. McGraw now has 46 kills in her last four matches. Elam and Andrews finished with nine kills each behind the McGraw attack.
The Bulldogs finished with 50 kills, Gray assisted on 21 of the kills while Kazic assisted on 13.
Calaza finished with another all-around performance for Union as she finished with a match-high 25 digs, seven assists and two kills. She now has 1,760 career digs.
Bella Salazar (sophomore/Arlington, Texas) added 16 digs off the bench, a career-high. Gray finished with 11 digs on the final match of the day.
“We at least won all three conference matches this week and moved into first place in the AAC,” Wise added.
Union will not be back in action until next Friday, as they travel to take on Truett-McConnell (Georgia) in AAC action. The match is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start.