HICKORY, N.C. (Sept. 1) – The Trojans began the 2023 campaign with a 1-2 mark split at the Lenoir-Rhyne Tournament recently, with a 3-1 loss against USC Aiken, a thrilling 3-2 victory over Valdosta State and a 3-0 setback against the hosts.
Against USC Aiken (1-0) of the Peach Belt Conference (PBC), the University of Mount Olive volleyball program was dealt a 3-1 loss (25-21, 25-23, 19-25, 25-14) despite tallying 52 kills in the match. Senior Neza Pec led the team with 13 kills while registering seven digs and five blocks against the Pacers. Junior Ashlyn Stone and junior transfer Callie Mullins each contributed 11 kills, while teammate Karoline Cox added nine kills on a .471 hitting percentage in the loss.
Freshman Lyndsay Reid guided the offense with 31 assists and senior Jenna Myers tallied nine assists in the Friday morning match. Senior Morgan Prots led the defensive effort with 19 digs, while sophomore Caroline Sheaffer produced 13 digs.
Against Valdosta State (1-1) of the Gulf Coast Conference (GSC), Mount Olive delivered an impressive 3-2 win (25-22, 22-25, 26-24, 22-25, 15-13) in a five-set thriller after posting 54 kills and 14 service aces. Stone registered a kill/dig double-double with 12 kills and 16 digs while totaling four aces. Cox and freshman Rachel Clark each tallied 10 kills against the Blazers. Reid directed the offense with 29 assists, while Myers contributed 15 assists on Friday evening.
Prots delivered an outstanding 26-dig performance, while Pec tallied 17 digs, seven kills, and four aces. Sheaffer also added 12 digs for the Trojans with Cox controlling the net with three blocks.
With the results, the Trojans fall to 1-2 following the season-opening tournament after playing three teams, all from different states. Mount Olive will host its home invitational this upcoming weekend with 10 combined matches scheduled in Kornegay Arena. Meanwhile, the Bears improves to 2-1 this season and holds a pair of victories over Conference Carolinas teams.
Senior Neza Pec led the UMO offense with nine kills against Lenoir-Rhyne while contributing 11 digs and two assists over three sets. Sophomore Kate Carter produced eight kills, three blocks, and three digs against the Bears. Junior Karoline Cox registered seven kills on a .385 hitting percentage, while teammate Ashlyn Stone totaled six kills, nine digs, and two blocks. Freshman Lyndsay Reid directed the offense with 18 assists and added eight digs on Saturday.
Senior Morgan Prots guided the defensive effort with 17 digs and tallied three assists in the match.