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June 15, 2024 1:05 am

Mount Olive outlasts Belmont Abbey

BELMONT – The University of Mount Olive women’s volleyball team posted a 3-2 victory at Belmont Abbey on Monday night in Conference Carolinas action.

With the win, the Trojans improved to 15-8 this season with a 8-2 record in league play. Mount Olive matches its win total from last season and remained in second place in the east division standings. Meanwhile, the Crusaders dropped to 5-21 overall behind a 3-9 mark in conference action.

Senior Amara Eziakonwa led the team with career-high marks of 11 blocks and six service aces while adding seven kills over five sets of play. Fellow senior Ele’sia Williams reached double-digit kills for a consecutive match with 12. Sophomores Neza Pec and Ashlyn Stone each tallied six kills against the Crusaders. Senior Madison Goodman guided the offense with 18 assists, while sophomore Tarah Guntow added 12.

Sophomore Morgan Prots led the defense with 15 digs, while Goodman and Pec finished with nine. UMO totaled 12 service aces in the match with six different players recording an ace. At the net, Eziakonwa posted a career-high mark of 11 blocks in the match, while senior Camryn Huber recorded a career-high nine.

In the first set, the Crusaders managed to jump out to a 10-8 advantage before UMO rallied off five consecutive points to take a 13-10 lead. The Trojans won five of the following eight points to extend the advantage to 18-13 before a 7-2 run by Belmont Abbey tied the set, 20-20. Mount Olive countered with a 5-1 run behind a pair of aces from Eziakonwa to take the first set, 25-21.

The Trojans claimed a 2-0 lead in the second set behind 11 kills. UMO took an early 12-5 advantage after back-to-back kills from Pec before the Crusaders closed the gap with three straight points. Mount Olive answered with a 7-1 run to stretch the lead to 19-9 before scoring four of the following seven points to take a 23-12 advantage. Both sides exchanged the final four points before Mount Olive won the set after a service error, 25-14.

Belmont Abbey cut into the deficit after securing the third set with a match-high 14 kills. The Crusaders built momentum and established a 13-10 lead before extending the advantage to 18-12 following a 5-2 run. UMO trimmed the deficit with three consecutive points before Belmont Abbey countered by tallying six of the following eight points to lead 24-17. The Trojans rallied back with four unanswered points before the Crusaders took the third set on a service error, 25-21.

In the fourth set, Belmont Abbey tied the match at 2-2 despite Mount Olive holding an 8-5 lead early on. The Crusaders used a 6-1 run to take an 11-9 advantage before the Trojans countered with five-straight points to lead 14-11. Belmont Abbey established a 12-2 run to retake the lead by a 23-16 margin before UMO totaled four of the following five points to cut the gap to 24-20. The set finished 25-20 on a service error in favor of Belmont Abbey.

Mount Olive seized the victory in the fifth after trailing 5-2 to open the final set. The Trojans answered with a 6-2 run to take an 8-7 advantage before both teams traded the next six points. UMO tallied four straight points to close out the match and seal the win by a 15-10 margin after a pair of kills from Williams.

— University of Mount Olive athletics