COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Union College volleyball team collected a pair of Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) victories Saturday, winning a thrilling 3-2 match over host Columbia (S.C.) before sweeping Reinhardt (Ga.) 3-0.
"I'm pleased that on our last big road trip we were able to grind out a win and stay on track for our goals," said head coach Jeremy Wise. "Now, we just have to defend our home court to wrap up the rest of conference play."
With the wins, the Bulldogs improve to 25-8 overall and 16-2 in conference play.
Union has five regular-season matches remaining with four at home. The four home matches are all AAC contests, while the lone road date is non-conference tilt at Cumberlands (Ky.).
Match 1 – Union 3, Columbia 2 (18-25, 25-23, 23-25, 29-27, 15-6)
Union staved off a match point twice in set four before turning on the jets to power its way to a thrilling 3-2 win over Columbia.
"It was a real barn burner in in first match with Columbia," Wise said. "We played sluggish and sloppy until the fifth set and finally fired up and played a solid set from start to finish."
Union appeared as it was going to easily force a fifth set as it was up 24-22 with the serve. However, Columbia rallied to tie the frame at 25 and then served for match point up 26-25 and 27-26. Jenna Nelson (JR/Florence, Ky. ) delivered a kill to even the set at 27 before two Columbia attack errors gave Union the 29-27 set win.
In the fifth set, Union took over as it opened up a 12-4 cushion en route to the 15-6 set win and 3-2 match victory.
Marissa Elam (JR/Muncie, Ind.) led Union with nine kills, while Nelson and Rachel Andrews (JR/Louisville, Ky. ) each had seven. Paulina Hileman (JR/Johnstown, Colo.) recorded 21 digs in the win.
Match 2 – Union 3, Reinhardt 0 (25-11, 25-23, 25-14)
Union came out firing on all cylinders in its final match of the day to roll to the 3-0 win over Reinhardt.
"In the second match, we came ready to play and focused on playing smart and the right way from the start," said the Bulldog coach. "Our offense came on as a direct result of us passing the ball much better."
Elam once again paced the Union attack with 11 kills with Maddie Jergesen (FR/Carson City, Nev.) following with seven. Andrews helped out with six kills.
Union plays host to Point (Ga.) on Tuesday in an AAC affair. Match is set to set at 6:30 p.m.