BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - It wasn't easy, but it was a win nonetheless for the Union volleyball team. Visiting Tennessee Wesleyan pushed Union to the limit, but the Lady Bulldogs were up to the task as they recorded the 3-2 Appalachian Athletic Conference victory on Tuesday.
Union has never lost to Tennessee Wesleyan since joining the AAC in 2002, but it was taken to the limit in the 25-18, 21-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-10 decision. In fact, it had been since 2005 since Union dropped a set to the visiting Lady Bulldogs.
With the win, Union improves to 13-14 overall and 9-3 in conference play. Tennessee Wesleyan falls to 7-10 overall and 3-9 in the AAC.
Paige Moore and Christa Hicks led Union with 11 kills with Hicks also recording four total blocks and three service aces. Brooke Porter posted a double-double with career-high 10 kills and 11 digs. Chandler Gray also had a double-double with 20 assists and 11 digs to go along with three aces.
Down 8-7 in the first set, Union used an 11-3 stretch to open up an 18-11 lead. Tennessee Wesleyan cut the margin to four, but Union finished the set on a 4-2 surge to wrap up the 25-18 decision.
The second and third sets were mirror images of one another. Tennessee Wesleyan jumped up to a large lead - 18-10 in set two and 18-11 in set three, and Union attempted a comeback. However, Tennessee Wesleyan held on for identical 25-21 decisions in both sets to grab a 2-1 match lead.
Union appeared to regain control in set four, building a 14-6 advantage early on. Yet, Tennessee Wesleyan stormed back and scored eight of the next 10 points to pull within 16-14 of Union. Tennessee Wesleyan eventually pulled even at 23-all thanks to an Amy Lokker kill. Union, though, claimed the final two points, winning the set on a Porter ace to take the 25-23 decision and even the match at 2-2.
In the fifth set, Union raced out of the gates to a 7-0 lead. Still, Tennessee Wesleyan would not go away and slowly cut the deficit to 12-10 following a Kaylan Powers kill. But Union took the final three points off of back-to-back kills by Hicks and another kill by Moore, giving Union the 15-10 set win and 3-2 match victory.
Heather Fields notched 23 assists and two aces in the win, while Gabrielle Kelly and Summer Manning notched 17 and 11 digs, respectively.
Union returns to action on Thursday when it visits Bryan (Tenn.) in another AAC contest. Match time is set for 6:30 p.m.