GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Seniors Brooke Ellison and Katherine Hall were honored Saturday night in their final home match at Alley Gymnasium, and the Furman volleyball team went on to defeat UNC Greensboro 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-22). The Paladins also honored Furman head volleyball coach Michelle Young, who picked up her 200th career victory earlier this season.
After UNC Greensboro took a 5-3 lead to open the match, Furman went on an 8-3 run to establish an 11-6 advantage and never looked back, taking a 25-15 win in set one. The two teams battled back and forth in the second set, but Furman eventually built a six-point lead at 16-10. The Spartans cut the lead to four at 18-14 but could never get any closer, and the Paladins went on to win the second set 25-19 to take a 2-0 set lead at the break.
The two teams were tied at nine before UNC Greensboro scored three straight points for a 12-9 lead in the third set. Furman could only come within two points until the Paladins rallied with three straight points to take a 16-15 lead. The teams then battled through ties at 16 and 17, before the Spartans went on a 7-3 run, giving UNC Greensboro a 22-19 lead. After an attack error by the Spartans brought Furman sophomore Natalie Braun up to serve, the Paladins scored the next five points, ignited by two key kills by sophomore Caroline Adams, to end the match with a 25-22 win in the third set.
"Getting a 3-0 win was a great way to wrap up a career in Alley Gym," said Hall following the match. "This was a great team win, which characterized my time here at Furman. I'm going to miss all of the girls in this program."
Hall posted eight kills and two errors off 15 attempts, for a .400 attack percentage. She also picked up two digs for the Paladins. Ellison recorded three digs in the victory.
"These have been an incredible four years that have made a huge impact on my life," said Ellison after the win, "All the girls and I have been such a family for four years. The girls and coaches mean so much to me on and off the court."
Junior Kelly Kirby recorded a triple-double in the match with 10 kills, 19 assists, and 10 digs. Sophomore Chandler Ambrester led Furman with 14 kills and a .609 attack percentage, while Braun led Furman's defensive attack with 16 digs and two service aces. Freshman Sarah McCarthy posted a team-high 21 assists and added 13 digs, and Adams recorded 12 kills and led Furman with three blocks.
"Both Katherine and Brooke have really stepped up their level of play," said Young following the victory. "We were really happy for them to have a good match tonight on Senior Night. I'm really proud of how the girls played as a team to close out our home season."
Ariel Newman posted nine kills to lead the Spartans, who fall to 19-10 overall and 7-7 in the Southern Conference with the loss. Karrian Chambers paced UNC Greensboro with 11 digs, while Ari Lysacek recorded a team-high 27 assists.
Furman (16-10, 10-4 SoCon) will conclude the 2010 regular season next weekend in Charleston, S.C. The Paladins will play at The Citadel Saturday at 2 p.m. before playing their final regular season match at College of Charleston Sunday at 2 p.m.