RIO GRANDE, Ohio – On a day in which they played three matches, the Union College volleyball team registered two tough victories over Cumberlands (Ky.) and Rio Grande (Ohio) on the final day of the 2014 Aces in August Tournament.
The lone loss for the Bulldogs, now 3-2 on the year, came in their first match of the day against Northwestern Ohio.
Union 3, Cumberlands 2 (25-12, 22-25, 25-17, 14-25, 15-12)
The Bulldogs started their match with rival Cumberlands on fire, rolling to 13-point victory. The Patriots, however, countered in the second set, rallying from an early 17-15 deficit to notch a three point victory to tie the match up at 1-1.
In the third set, the Bulldogs started off opening a 6-1 lead over the Patriots and never looked back, eventually opening a 21-10 lead in the team's eight point victory that put them on the cusp of winning the match
But, in the fourth set, Cumberlands dominated play, scoring 14 of 15 points at one point in play (the Patriots were down 8-5 when the rally began), to open up a huge 19-10 lead. The deficit was too much for Union to come back from, as the Patriots forced a fifth set with an 11-point victory.
In the decisive fifth set, the Bulldogs took control of the match with things tied up at 5-5, as momentum swung in Union's favor after a Vanessa Wiseman (SO/Corbin, Ky.) block at the net that gave the Bulldogs a 7-5 lead. Once Union grabbed the lead in the set, they never gave it up the rest of the way.
Up 13-10, Cumberlands made one last rally, scoring back-to-back points to cut the lead down to 13-12. But, Union scored the final two points of play to take the match, as a kill by Wiseman clinched the five-set victory for the Bulldogs.
Overall, Paige Moore (SR/Louisville, Ky.) paced the Union attack in the five-set thriller, hammering home 10 kills, while fellow senior Heather Fields (SR/Louisville, Ky.) notched 22 assists. On the defensive end, Ana Calaza (JR/Rio de Janerio, Brazil) posted a match-high 29 digs, as the Bulldogs recorded 10 total blocks overall in the victory.
Union 3, Rio Grande 1 (27-25, 25-22, 16-25, 26-24)
In their final match of the weekend, the Bulldogs faced a rested and ready Rio Grande squad, who had not played a match on the day after a morning tilt with Lourdes (Ohio) was cancelled.
In the first set, things swung back and forth throughout, leading to things being all square at 25-all, sending the match to a tie-break. There, Union recorded back-to-back points, ending the set on a block-assist by Julia Edmonds (SO/Burlington, Ky.) and Jenna Nelson (FR/Florence, Ky. ).
It was more of the same in the second set, until Union opened things up, taking a 22-17 lead late in the contest. After one last Rio rally, the Bulldogs finished off the set on a Jillian Stuff (FR/Marengo, Ohio) kill, taking a 2-0 lead in the match in the process.
The RedStorm clawed back in the match with an impressive effort in the third set, coasting to a nine point victory. In the fourth set, Union opened an early 7-4 lead, only to see Rio once again climb back in it, on their way to eventually taking a 14-12 lead in the set.
Here, the Bulldogs took control once again, opening up a 19-16 lead after a 7-2 run. With Union up 22-20, Rio made another run, and looked poised to send the match to a decisive fifth set after taking a 24-23 lead.
But, the Bulldogs delivered one final punch to knockout the RedStorm, scoring the final three points of the match to take it in four. Up 25-24, Fields was the one who finally finished off Rio Grande, recording a game-ending ace to give Union the victory.
Overall in the Rio match, Moore slammed 20 kills in the victory to lead the attack, recording a .421 attacking percentage in the process. Meanwhile, Stuff notched 12 kills in the win, and Fields recorded another 20-plus assist game with 21 in the win.
Northwestern Ohio 3, Union 1 (22-25, 23-25, 25-18, 16-25)
In their first match of the day, Union fell behind 2-0 after two sets and never recovered, as Northwestern Ohio coasted to a win in four sets.
After dropping a pair of tough sets to open the match, the Bulldogs fought back in the third set to stay alive, posting a convincing seven point win. But, in the fourth set, UNOH ended the match, rolling to a nine-point victory.
Overall in the UNOH match, Marissa Elam (FR/Muncie, Ind.) had nine kills to lead the Union attack, while Stuff, Moore, and Rachel Andrews (FR/Louisville, Ky.) posted eight kills, apiece.
The Bulldogs return to action on Tuesday, hosting Dalton State (Ga. ) in their 2014 home opener at Robsion Arena. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.