CHARLESTON, S.C. – College of Charleston entered the second half of conference play with a big sweep over rival UNC Wilmington, 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-17), at TD Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Charleston (18-4, 8-0) ran its winning streak to eight matches as the first-place Cougars stayed undefeated in CAA play. UNCW (14-8, 3-5) tallied 11.5 blocks, but failed to match CofC’s offensive firepower at the end of each set.
Once again, the Cougars outmatched UNCW in nearly all statistical categories, winning the battle in kills (46-32), hitting (.304-.158), assists (45-31) and digs (51-31).
“Our goal is always to get better, and we certainly improved from our last match against JMU,” head coach Jason Kepner said. “They are a great blocking team, which they showed, but we outplayed them in hitting and digging which was key. Darcy Dorton had a great match, which we needed from her. We just have to keep our nose to the grind and keep working hard against these conference teams.”
Darcy Dorton rebounded from a couple of tough matches with her most kills/set in a CAA match, tallying 14 kills with only three errors for a hitting percentage of .379. She also made five digs and had three blocks.
Sloane White made eight kills and Emily Neideffer slammed seven (.417) to help CofC overcome the Seahawk blocking game. Taeler Davis registered her fifth double-double of the season with 21 assists and 11 digs. Reigning CAA Defender of the Week Andi Zbojniewicz led all players with 13 digs.
CAA block leader Meredith Peacock showed her strength at the net, making 11 blocks, the most by any CofC opponent this season. Peacock also had seven kills for a .438 attack game. Christi Laite led all UNCW hitters with nine kills, but also committed six errors.
CofC built a 16-11 lead in the first set, but a handful of CofC mistakes, including a UNCW ace, brought the score to 17-16 and forced a timeout. A kill from Dorton and two kills from Melissa Morello rebuilt the lead before UNCW cut it back down again at 22-21. A Seahawk error followed by a Howley kill gave Kallie McKown set point and she landed an ace for the 25-21 win.
Charleston leapt ahead 14-8 in the second frame, but four blocks in the next seven points brought the Seahawks back to 15-13. Later blocks from Peacock tied the score at 19, and again at 21. White then bounced a big kill and Dorton made an ace to give Charleston set point at 24-21. Peacock made a kill, but the Cougars sided out with a White slide for the set victory, 25-22.
The Cougars responded to UNCW’s net defense with savvy hitting in the third set. The Seahawks made two more blocks, but Charleston did not make any unforced errors for a team hitting percentage of .419. Dorton and White combined for seven kills and UNCW only managed 10 digs. CofC led 17-10 and then reeled off the final four points to win 25-17.
College of Charleston will host Delaware and Towson next weekend at TD Arena. Friday night’s match against Delaware starts at 7 p.m.