BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Senior Caity Merritt hammered home a team-high 14 kills to help lead Union to a 3-0, Appalachian Athletic Conference sweep of visiting Virginia Intermont on Tuesday.
The win improves the Lady Bulldogs' overall record to 9-4 and league mark to 3-1. The Lady Cobras are now 5-8 overall and 3-3 in the AAC.
"I'm proud to seed us win in three games tonight, especially after an emotional weekend of tough volleyball," said head coach Jeremy Wise. "I liked the fact our hitting percentage increased each game and reach our goal of hitting over .300 in the last match. Hopefully, we can keep momentum going into a long road trip this weekend."
Union is now a seven-match win streak, which is the longest for the program since a 10-match stretch during the 2010 campaign.
Merritt had a solid all-around game as she posted a .480 hitting percentage and had five block assists. The senior hitter received a lot of hit at the net as well with Julia Edmonds delivering seven kills, Karina Ramos and Paige Moore each adding six, and Brooke Hill helping out with five.
Union nearly had another double-digit block night as it finished with 9.0 total team blocks. Ramos lead the way with seven block assists, while Hill, Edmonds and Erin Porter each had two.
Early on, Union struggled to get rolling as Virginia Intermont scored the match's first three points. The Lady Cobras led as late in the match as 12-11. VIC tied the set at 14-14 when the Lady Bulldogs began to take over, reeling off the next seven points for a 21-14 advantage. Virginia Intermont cut the margin to 21-17, but Union took four of the final six points of the frame for the 25-19 decision.
The Lady Bulldogs appeared to be on cruise control in the second set as it raced to an early 11-6 cushion. However, Virginia Intermont chipped away at the the deficit, eventually using a 3-0 run to even the score at 21-21. Union rebounded and scored the final four points of the set with Merritt accounting for the last two with a pair of powerful kills, securing the 25-21 decision and 2-0 match lead.
Union opened an 11-3 lead to start the third set, but once again, Virginia Intermont would not go down quietly. The Lady Cobras battled back but could not get any closer than three of tying the set as the Lady Bulldogs won the frame 25-19 and the match 3-0.
Ana Calaza registered 20 digs with Summer Manning following with 10. Heather Fields and Chandler Gray registered 17 and 12 assists, respectively.
For Virginia Intermont, Ashleigh Manke posted 15 kills, while Ashley Hooven had 22 assists and 12 digs.
By the Numbers
- As a team, Union recorded a .283 hitting percentage. For the season, Union is hitting .196.
- The Lady Bulldogs has 105.0 total team blocks in 13 matches this year. In 2012, Union had 165.5 total team blocks in 34 matches.
- Virginia Intermont registered an .096 hitting percentage. Opponents are hitting .112 against Union thus far this season.
Union travels to Columbia (S.C.) on Friday for another AAC battle. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.