BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - It was a roller coaster of a match, and unfortunately visiting Montreat (N.C.) had the last thrill as Union dropped a 3-2 Appalachian Athletic Conference match on Wednesday.
Union won the opening set 25-17 but lost the next two frames 25-18 and 25-19. The Lady Bulldogs rallied for a 25-15 win in the fourth set, forcing a fifth frame. However, Montreat seized control and took the set 15-8 and the match 3-2.
The loss drops Union to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in league play, while Montreat improves to 5-7 overall and 1-0 in the AAC.
Freshman Julia Edmonds and junior Paige Moore led Union with 12 kills apiece, while senior Caity Merritt added 11. The Lady Bulldogs were a force at the net with 51 total kills and 10 blocks. Edmonds and junior Brooke Hill each had five total blocks, while senior Karina Ramos had four.
In all five sets, the outcome was decided fairly quickly as the team who jumped out the early went on for the win. Tied at 9-9, Union used a 10-1 surge to open up a 19-10 cushion en route to the 25-17 decision.
Montreat started the second set with an 8-5 lead before using a 7-0 rally to break open a 19-10 advantage in taking the set 25-18, tying the match. Montreat took a 2-1 lead with a 25-19 third set victory. The Lady Cavaliers scored the first six points of the frame, and the Lady Bulldogs could never get closer than three points the rest of the way.
Union flipped the switch in the fourth set. Tied at 5-5, the Lady Bulldogs steadily built a 16-10 lead. Montreal pulled within 19-15, but Union closed out the set by scoring the final six points for the 25-15, tying the match at 2-2.
In the fifth, Union grabbed the early 2-1 lead. However, Montreat clipped off the next seven points to build a comfortable 8-2 lead. Union tried to battle back but never got closer than four as Montreat took the set 15-8, sealing the 3-2 conference win.
Hannah Scholz led Montreat with 17 kills with six coming in the fifth set, while Lauren Owen had nine kills and five blocks. Olivia Van Deusen posted 38 assists.
For Union, Chandler Gray had 23 assists and two aces with Heather Fields adding 17 assists and two aces.
By the Numbers
- Montreat has now won four of the last five meetings despite Union owning a 23-6 overall lead in the series since 2002.
- For the third match this year, Union recorded 10 or more team blocks. The Lady Bulldogs had 12 against IU Southeast and 11 versus Bethel (Tenn.). In six matches, Union has 45 total blocks.
- Moore and Merritt posted double-digit kills in the same match for the third time this season.
- Union is 0-2 in five-set matches this season.
Union will play host to AAC foe Point (Ga.) and non-conference rival Brescia (Ky.) at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively, on Saturday.