BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but it was a win nonetheless as the Union volleyball team collected a 3-1, Appalachian Athletic Conference victory over visiting Tennessee Wesleyan on Tuesday.
Tennessee Wesleyan took the opening set 25-19, but Union rallied to win the next three 25-10, 25-22, 25-17 to improve to 16-6 overall and 9-2 in the conference.
"We didn't come out sharp tonight," said Union coach Jeremy Wise. "But we battled back and finished strong. We told the girls during the intermission that after we come out with a run, they're going to answer with a run of their own. How we respond will determine if we will get the win.
"Fortunately, we came together and picked up the win, but we made it a lot closer than it should've been."
Union scored the first point of the match, but Tennessee Wesleyan ripped off eight straight for an 8-1 lead. Union tried to fight back but could not completely close the gap. Union cut the margin to 22-19 after a Paige Moore kill, but Tennessee Wesleyan netted the final three points to take the opening set 25-19.
It was a different story in the second frame as Union raced to a 10-4 advantage. Tennessee Wesleyan scored a couple of quick points to make it 10-6, but Union collected 15 of the next 19 points to cruise to the 25-10 set win, evening the match at 1-1.
Union appeared to be on cruise control in the third set, opening up a 10-3 cushion. However, Tennessee Wesleyan steadily chipped away at the deficit. Down 22-15, the visitors went on a 7-1 run to pull within 23-22. During the run, Chassity Taylor served up back-to-back aces, and Hayli Raines had two kills. Yet, Union sealed the win, scoring the final two points on a Moore kill and a block from Julia Edmonds and Vanessa Wiseman for a 25-22 set win and 2-1 match lead.
In the fourth set, Union opened up with a 4-0 lead and maintain a comfortable margin throughout, leading by as much as 10 points en route to the 25-17 decision and 3-1 match victory.
Moore and Caity Merritt led Union with 15 kills apiece, while Edmonds had seven kills and three block assists. Karina Ramos posted five kills and six block assists, and Heather Fields chipped in 39 assists. Ana Calaza and Linsey Ellis contributed 26 and 10 digs, respectively.
For Tennessee Wesleyan (6-16, overall, 3-11 AAC), Raines led the way with 12 kills and 12 digs.
By the Numbers
- This is the 13th time of the season Moore and Merritt have posted double-digit kills in the same match. The duo only accomplished this feat nine times in 34 matches last season.
- With 9.0 total team blocks tonight, Union now has 177.5 in 22 matches this season. Edmonds leads the team with 75.0
- Since joining the AAC in 2002, Union is 25-0 all-time versus Tennessee Wesleyan.
- After a 2-4 start, Union has won 14 of its last 16 matches.
Union will play host to St. Andrews on Friday at 6 p.m. before entertaining Columbia (S.C.) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in AAC action.