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Furman Picks Up First SoCon Win Over Big Ten Opponent With 3-1 Victory Over Wisconsin

Furman Picks Up First SoCon Win Over Big Ten Opponent With 3-1 Victory Over Wisconsin

DURHAM, N.C. – Furman picked up its first win of the season and the first win over a Big Ten opponent for any Southern Conference team with a 3-1 (25-17, 25-21, 22-25, 25-18) victory over Wisconsin Saturday at the Duke Volleyball Invitational in Durham, N.C.  Junior Natalie Braun recorded a triple-double for the Paladins, posting 21 assists, 16 digs, and 10 kills.

With the Paladins leading 13-12 in the first set, Furman put together a three-point run to take a 16-12 advantage.  Wisconsin cut the lead to three points at 18-15, but two kills by senior Alexis Shaffer gave Furman a 20-15 lead.  Following a Badger timeout, the Paladins won five out of the next seven points for a 25-17 set one victory.

Set two was tied at 13 apiece before Furman recorded a block by Braun and junior Caroline Adams, then a solo block by Adams, and a kill by Braun to take a 16-13 lead.  Wisconsin fought back to tie the match at 21, but the Paladins reeled off four-straight points with two kills by junior Chandler Ambrester, a Badger error, and an additional kill from Braun to complete the 25-21 set victory and take a 2-0 lead at the break. 

The two teams traded points in the third set, then settled into a tie at 19 apiece.  Wisconsin scored four straight points for a 23-19 lead, before Furman pulled within two at 24-22.  A kill by Bailey Reshel gave the Badgers a 25-22 set win.

Furman broke open the fourth set, leading 16-12 before Wisconsin fought back to come within two points at 19-17.  The Paladins then won five-straight points to lead 24-17, and a kill by sophomore Christina Dorismond sealed the 25-18 victory for the Paladins.

"I am so proud of our team," said Furman head coach Michelle Young following the win.  "We really challenged the girls during preseason practices, and this is a well-deserved reward for all of their hard work.  The team did a good job of serving tough and playing great defense, plus our offense improved in this match, as well.  This is a great win for our program!"

Senior Carolyn Nicoletti and Ambrester paced the Furman defensive attack with 19 digs apiece, while Ambrester led the team with 18 kills.  Dorismond led the Paladins with a .357 attack percentage, and Adams recorded a team-high five block assists.  Senior Kelly Kirby tallied a double-double with 26 assists and 11 digs in the match-up.

"We capitalized off an opportunity against a tough Wisconsin team and got a big win for our program," said Braun after the match.  Nicoletti played great defense for us.  She didn't let anything hit the floor, which was a huge factor in our win today."

Wisconsin (1-1) was led by Reshel and Crystall Graff, who each tapped in 10 kills, while Janelle Gabrielsen posted a team-high 23 assists.  Annemarie Hickey led the Badgers defensive attack with 19 assists.

Furman (1-1) will face Charleston Southern Saturday at 5 p.m. to conclude the tournament.