BLUEFIELD, Va. – The Union College volleyball team collected a hard-fought, Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) victory with a 3-1 decision at Bluefield (Va.) on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs improved to 23-8 overall and 14-2 in AAC play with the 25-23, 22-25, 25-22, 25-20 victory.
"The ladies showed great focus tonight in pressure situations and executed when we needed to tonight," said head coach Jeremy Wise. "We also received great plays from our bench when called upon tonight."
The loss drops Bluefield to 15-14 overall and 6-10 in league play.
Rachel Andrews (JR/Louisville, Ky. ) came up big for Union, matching her career high with 19 kills as she posted a 0.417 hitting percentage. Jenna Nelson (JR/Florence, Ky. ) was equally impressive with a career-high 12 kills on 0.348 hitting.
The opening frame was a real battle for the Bulldogs as they overcame a five-point deficit to win 25-23. Union never led by more than two points in the set and used a 12-5 stretch to grab a 19-17 lead. Bluefield responded to take a 23-22 lead, but Union tallied the final three points of the frame for the 25-22 decision.
Bluefield led from wire-to-wire to win the second set 25-22, evening the match at 1-all.
Like the first two sets, play was tied. Union led by as much as six points but only a 21-20 lead in the frame. The Bulldogs closed out the set on a 4-2 stretch to take the set 25-22 for a 2-1 match lead.
The Rams appeared as if they were going to force a fifth set as they opened up a five-point lead and held a 15-12 midway through the fourth. However, the Bulldogs used a 4-0 spurt to take a 16-15 lead. After Bluefield regained a one-point advantage, Union reeled off five consecutive points for a 21-17 cushion. From there, the Bulldogs closed the match out for the 25-20 set win and 3-1 match victory.
Carson Gray (SO/Alexandria, Ky.) and Ivana Kazic (SR/Belgrade, Serbia) registered 28 and 24 assists, respectively. Kazic accounted for two of the Bulldogs' four service aces as well. Paulina Hileman (JR/Johnstown, Colo.) posted 24 digs, while Gray followed with 12.
Union returns to action Saturday with an AAC tri-match at Columbia (S.C.). Union faces host Columbia at 11 a.m. before facing Reinhardt (Ga.) at 1 p.m.