PEMBROKE – Despite battling back from a two-set deficit, the University of Mount Olive fell 25-18, 25-20, 17-25, 14-25, 15-13 at UNC Pembroke in a five-set thriller on Saturday afternoon in Conference Carolinas play.
With the loss, the University of Mount Olive women’s volleyball team dropped to 9-7 overall behind a 3-1 mark in conference action. Both teams remain at the top of the east division with one loss each. Meanwhile, the Braves improved to 8-10 this season with a 5-1 record in league play.
Freshman Sam Widelski finished with a kill/dig double-double after leading all players with a season-high 18 kills and posted 16 digs. She has eclipsed double-digit kills in three matches this season and has two kill/dig double-doubles. Sophomore Ashlyn Stone registered 15 kills while teammate Neza Pec posted a kill/dig double-double behind a season-high 11 kills and 11 digs. Senior Jenna Myer directed the offense with a career-high 45 assists and teammate Madison Goodman totaled 10 assists.
The Trojans featured three players with double-digit digs, led by Widelski with 16, while sophomore Morgan Prots had 13 and Pec tallied 11. UMO for a seventh-straight contest recorded double-digit aces as a team, led by senior Amara Eziakonwa and Widelski with three service aces each in the match.
In the first set, the teams were deadlocked at 14-14 after neither team established a lead larger than two points. The Braves eventually used a 4-0 run to take an 18-14 advantage before UMO scored three of the following four points to cut the deficit to 19-17. UNC Pembroke finished with a 6-1 run to close out the opening set by a 25-18 margin.
The Braves took a 2-0 match lead after edging out the second set by a score of 25-20. UNC Pembroke raced out to an 11-7 advantage following a 5-1 run. The Trojans answered by registering three of the following four points before the Braves notched back-to-back kills, 14-10. Mount Olive rallied back with a 7-1 run behind a pair of kills from Eziakonwa to take the advantage, 17-15. UNC Pembroke countered with six-consecutive points before scoring four of the final seven points to take the second set.
The Trojans cut the match deficit to 2-1 after 12 kills to win the third set. UMO held a 14-10 lead after capitalizing on a service error, but the Braves answered by scoring three of the following five points to pull to within 16-13. Mount Olive rallied off three straight points to establish a 19-13 advantage before consecutive attacking errors trimmed the deficit for UNC Pembroke to 19-15. The Trojans finished off the set with a 6-2 run, highlighted by a pair of kills by Widelski to take the set 25-17.
UMO tied the contest at 2-2 after securing the fourth set by a 25-14 margin behind 13 kills. The Braves took an 11-9 lead following a 6-2 run, but Mount Olive answered with seven-straight points to take a 16-11 advantage. After a kill by UNC Pembroke, the Trojans used a 6-1 run behind two service aces by Eziakonwa to stretch the lead to 22-13. UMO would score three of the final four points after a pair of attacking errors by the Braves to win the set.
UNC Pembroke claimed the match victory by a 3-2 count after capturing the fifth set, 15-13. The Braves established a 12-7 lead before Mount Olive responded with a 4-1 run with three kills registered by Stone. After a kill by UNC Pembroke, UMO rallied back with consecutive points before the Braves sealed the victory on a kill.