MOUNT OLIVE – The Trojans overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth set to complete a comeback victory over Francis Marion by a 3-2 margin on Wednesday night in Conference Carolinas play at Kornegay Arena.
With the win, the University of Mount Olive women’s volleyball team improved to 16-8 this season with a 9-2 record in league action. UMO extended its winning streak to four and has now won its most matches under third-year head coach Emma Celentano. Meanwhile, the Patriots fell to 12-9 overall behind a 7-5 mark in conference play.
Sophomore Neza Pec registered her fourth kill/dig double-double of the year after tying for the team lead with 12 kills and totaling 12 digs. She ranks third on the team with 162 kills this season while sitting second with over 200 digs. Fellow sophomore Ashlyn Stone also finished with 12 kills, while senior Alyssa Jackson recorded a season-high nine kills. Senior Amara Eziakonwa collected eight kills. Senior Jenna Myer had 28 assists and fellow senior Madison Goodman had 20.
Defensively, sophomore Morgan Prots led all players with 24 digs. She eclipsed 20 digs for the ninth time this season, including twice in the last three matches. Pec also reached double-figures with 12 and freshman Caroline Sheaffer tallied. Mount Olive tallied 13 service aces with Pec pacing the team with five and Goodman adding three. The Trojans controlled the net with 11 blocks after Pec, Jackson and Eziakonwa all posted three blocks.
In the fifth set, UMO seized a 6-0 lead following a pair of service aces from Pec before the Patriots halted the run with a kill. The Trojans rattled off three of the next four points to take an 8-2 advantage before Francis Marion closed the gap to 9-6 with four straight points. The Patriots generated four of the following six points to cut the deficit to 11-10 before UMO answered with back-to-back kills. Both teams traded the next four points with Eziakonwa securing the win with a kill, 15-12.
Francis Marion established a 1-0 advantage after totaling 14 kills in the opening set. The Patriots held a 9-5 lead before a 5-2 rally by Mount Olive trimmed the deficit to 11-10. Both teams exchanged points down the stretch with Francis Marion maintaining a one-point lead, 19-18. The Patriots produced a 5-1 run to extend the lead to 24-19 before the Trojans notched three-consecutive points to pull within 24-22. Francis Marion claimed the first set by a 25-22 margin following a kill.
UMO tied the contest at 1-1 in the second after another close set that featured seven different ties. Mount Olive managed to take a 12-9 lead behind three straight points, including an ace from Eziakonwa. The Patriots strung together four of the following seven points to close the gap to 15-13 before a 6-1 rally by the Trojans allowed the team to build a 21-14 advantage. Francis Marion managed to cut the lead to 22-17 before a 3-1 Mount Olive run finished the set, 25-18.
Francis Marion reclaimed the lead in the third by a 2-1 margin after the set included nine ties and just two lead changes. With the match tied at 11, the Patriots rattled off five of the following seven points to hold a 16-13 advantage. Mount Olive countered with a 3-1 rally to cut into the deficit before Francis Marion closed the set with an 8-3 rally to win by a score of 25-19.
In the fourth, the Trojans overcame a 10-point deficit in the set to win by a 26-24 margin. Francis Marion achieved a 13-6 lead behind six straight points before a kill from Pec halted the run. The Patriots stretched the lead to 18-8 before UMO registered an 8-1 rally to trim the lead to 19-16. Francis Marion notched four of the next six points to extend the advantage to 23-18 before another 8-1 run by Mount Olive sealed the fourth set, 26-24.
— University of Mount Olive athletics