Volleyball Grabs Key Regional Win to Open SAC Tournament Play


GREENEVILLE, TN -- Catawba swept its way to an opening round win over Tusculum at the 2009 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Volleyball Tournament on Friday afternoon at Pioneer Arena.  Catawba, seeded-fourth, avenged two regular season losses to the host Pioneers, who entered as the #5-seed.  The Catawba Indians improved to 17-10 with the 26-24, 25-19 and 25-9 win.  Tusculum falls to 18-14.

The win was also a vital regional victory as the Lady Indians entered the tournament as the #6 ranked team in the region.  Eight teams earn spots in the Southeast Regional with three automatic bids going to the conference champions of the SAC, Peach Belt and Conference Carolinas.  Catawba will next face 24th-ranked Wingate in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. semifinal.

Sophomore Shay Meeks (Kings Mountain, NC/Kings Mountain HS) led Catawba with 13 kills, while SAC Freshman of the Year, Kaitlyn Whitmer (Ferrum, VA/Franklin Co. HS), added a dozen kills with no errors and hit at 37.5%.  Freshman setter Jordan Raye (Boonville, NC/Starmount HS), who was pressed into action after starting setter Megan Courson (Statesville, NC/W. Iredell HS) injured an ankle in practice, tallied 11 kills and dished out 26 assists.  Libero Mai Zoua Lo (Hickory, NC/Foard HS) collected 23 digs and served a pair of aces.

Catawba held off Tusculum in a close first set.  The Pioneers led early, holding an 8-4 edge after five straight hitting errors by the Lady Indians.  The Lady Indians battled back and used a combo block from Meeks and Jasmine Chunn (East Bend, NC/Forbush HS) and an ace from Alli Parrish (Zebulon, NC/Smithfield-Selma HS) for a 16-15 edge. 

Consecutive kills by Raye gave Catawba a 19-16 edge, but Tusculum fought back and tied the set at 22-all after a kill by Alyssa Raterman and a Catawba attack error.  Kills by Whitmer and Taylor Doss (Boonville, NC/Starmount HS) pushed the Lady Indians to match point then Raterman and Holli Cadenhead pulled Tusculum even with kills.  After an attack error by Tusculum, Doss served an ace to give Catawba the opening set.

The Lady Indians surged ahead midway through set two, scoring three straight points for a 17-14 lead which was capped with an ace by Jenny Young (Roanoke, VA/Patrick Henry HS).  Tusculum clawed within 18-17 on a kill by Sam Underwood, but Doss had a kill and a combo block with Parrish for a 20-17 edge.  Catawba scored the final four points of the set, including two kills from Meeks.  

Catawba rolled in the third set, scoring seven straight points during one stretch that gave the Lady Indians a 16-5 edge.  Lo had two aces and Whitmer added three kills in the run.  Whitmer added two more kills to take the score to 18-7.  Meeks had one kill and Katie Moran (Northville, MI/Northville HS) two in the final push for the win.

Tusculum was led by Gina Coffaro, who had 12 kills and 13 digs.  Setter Peyton Colcough had 28 assists and 13 digs.  The Pioneers hit just 9.2% in the match.  Catawba started slow, hitting just under 13% in the opening set, then had 29 kills with just three errors (33%) over the final two sets. 

Box Score

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Volleyball vs. UNC Pembroke 11 a.m.

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