CULLOWHEE, N.C. - The Cougars struggled to hold onto late set leads, but eventually put away Western Carolina, 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 26-28, 25-17), on Sunday afternoon on the road.
College of Charleston (18-6, 9-1) nearly relinquished 24-20 and 24-17 leads in the first two sets to Western Carolina (8-17, 4-6). In the third set, that flirting with danger came back to bite CofC as a 21-11 lead evaporated into a 28-26 set loss. However, College of Charleston put the Catamounts away in the fourth set to win the match.
Darcy Dorton tied her career high with 23 kills and 14 digs for her 11th double-double of the season. Sloane White continued her outstanding weekend by yet again recording 18 kills for an attack percentage of .441.
Junior Taeler Davis recorded a new career high with 63 assists to go along with nine digs and four blocks. Senior Emily Shelton led the Cougars' back row with 24 digs.
Western Carolina had four players reach double-digits in kills, paced by Jordan Timmerman's 16 kills. Caitlin Piechota tallied a double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs.
The Cougars and Catamounts tangled throughout most of the first set before Cougars seemingly pulled away late. Three straight points gave CofC a 19-16 lead and the visitors had WCU at set point at 24-20. However, Western scored three straight points to bring the margin to 24-23 and force a Charleston timeout. The Cougars came right out with a pass, set and cross-court kill from White to end the set for CofC, 25-23.
College of Charleston opened up a 12-12 second set with a 7-2 run to go up 19-14 after a block from Davis and Neideffer. CofC forced set point at 24-17, but the Catamounts rallied yet again, scoring six points in a row to make things tense at 24-23. For the second straight frame, CofC set White on the right side who ended the drama with a strong cross-court kill giving CofC a 25-23 win.
College of Charleston rolled to a 21-11 lead in the third set and seemed to have the match in hand. However, Western Carolina mounted a massive rally against the Cougar reserves to pull to within 23-20 and eventually tie the set at 24. CofC had set point after a Dorton kill that made the score 26-25, but an Addy George kill, CofC error and WCU service ace gave the Catamounts a 28-26 set three victory.
The Cougars got out to a lead in the fourth set and did not relinquish it. White turned into a machine with seven kills on eight swings and CofC hit .286 while holding the Catamounts to .105. A kill from Dorton ended the final set at 25-17 for a CofC victory.
College of Charleston will host Georgia Southern in a battle for first place in the Southern Conference on Friday night at 7 p.m. in TD Arena.