BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union put together one of its best all-around performances Friday, resulting in a solid 3-1 Appalachian Athletic Conference victory over visiting Columbia (S.C.).
The Lady Bulldogs (15-13 overall, 12-1 AAC) posted a team hitting percentage of .324 and recorded 10 total team blocks in collecting the win. Senior Lauren McMillan (Corbin, Ky.) registered her second 15-kill match in a row, while senior Amelia Cantrell (Georgetown, Ky.) notched seven kills and seven total blocks - three solos and four assists.
With the win, Union avenged its lone blemish on its conference record. Columbia swept the Lady Bulldogs on Sept. 16, but Union paid the Fighting Koalas back with the 25-17, 18-25, 25-15, 25-17 decision.
Union returns to action Saturday with a pair of matches. The Lady Bulldogs will host Virginia Intermont in AAC action at 12 p.m. before entertaining Asbury (Ky.) at 4 p.m. in non-conference play.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the first set with a 6-2 lead thanks in part to blocks by Cantrell and Cat Neumann (Louisville, Ky.). Columbia fight back and kept the match relatively close, but a 9-3 surge allowed Union to open up a 20-11 advantage. The margin grew to 10 points as Union wrapped up the 25-17 decision.
It was a different story in the second set as Columbia (21-10 overall, 9-5 AAC) scored the first eight points for the early advantage. Not willing to give up, the Lady Bulldogs slowly clawed their way back, pulling within 15-12 following a Caity Merritt (Abingdon, Va.) kill. The Fighting Koalas regrouped and stretched the margin to 19-13. The teams essentially traded points the rest of the way with Columbia winning 25-18 to even the match at 1-1.
Up 10-9 in the third set, Union put together an 8-2 rally to take an 18-11 cushion. Columbia cut the deficit to 18-13, but Union scored seven of the final nine points to wrap up the 25-15 decision to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Play was tight early on in the fourth set before a 6-0 rally opened up an 18-11 lead for the Lady Bulldogs. Brooke Porter (Louisville, Ky.) recorded two of her four service aces during the rally. Columbia managed to cut the margin to 21-17, but Union closed out the match with four straight points, registering the 25-17 decision for the 3-1 match victory.
Neumann helped Union out with 10 kills and three block assists, while Chelsea Kirschman (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) had eight kills, one solo block and three block assists. Porter finished with 24 digs, and Kalia Yasak (Kula, Hawaii) had 40 assists and 10 digs.
For Columbia, Tara Prater led the way with 15 kills with Johanna Chapel following with six. Erica Allman had 19 digs with Jacqui Anderson adding 33 assists.