WILMINGTON, N.C. – College of Charleston rebounded from a tough first set to defeat UNC Wilmington, 3-1 (23-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-21), and stay undefeated in CAA play.
The Cougars (15-4, 5-0) hit .309 as a team and outmatched the Seahawks (12-7, 1-4) in nearly every statistical category, including kills (64-49), digs (60-39) and blocks (9-5).
Charleston has now 18 consecutive road matches in conference play, dating back to Oct. 14, 2011.
CofC’s Darcy Dorton was the kill leader with 15 kills, but Cara Howley was unstoppable from the right side with 10 kills and just one error for an attack percentage of .562. Sloane White was right behind her with 12 kills (.348), while Melissa Morello had 11.
CofC’s middle blockers were strong with Kerstin Koehler tallying five blocks and Emily Neideffer finishing with five, helping to limit UNCW to just .158 hitting. Andi Zbojniewicz led the team with 14 digs. Both setters once again had double-doubles with Taeler Davis going for 26 assists and 10 digs, while Kallie McKown had 22 assists and 11 digs.
The Seahawks were led by Morgan Kline’s 15 kills and six digs. Christi Laite had 10 kills and five blocks, while Nicole Lott finished with nine kills. Lindsay Hartmann led UNCW with 16 digs.
The Cougars held an 18-15 late in the first set, but UNCW rallied with several strong plays to tie the score and take a 22-21 lead on three consecutive CofC attack errors. Dorton pulled CofC within one at 24-23, but Lott tallied her third-straight kill to win the first set, 25-23, for UNCW.
College of Charleston started the second set on a 5-0 run with powerful serving from Howley, leading to an ace and two over passes. Charleston was off and running with momentum-building blocks as Koehler gave the Cougars a 13-2 lead with a solo block. Emotions ran high on several plays at the net through the middle of the set, but Charleston finished strong and forced a number of UNCW errors to win 25-14. Wilmington had only seven kills on eight errors in the second set, while CofC had three blocks.
Both teams worked hard to side out throughout the third set, but CofC ultimately made fewer errors and found the magic on the right side as Howley and White combined for nine kills and no errors. Charleston won the set, 25-21, with .500 hitting on 20 kills and just three errors.
Another close set followed in the fourth, as UNCW and CofC went back and forth. CofC pulled away on a kill and block from Dorton to make it 20-18 late. White and Morello added to the lead and then two UNCW errors gave CofC set point before Morello put it away, 25-21.
Charleston will finally play for its home fans again next Friday with a match against William & Mary.