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Paladins Slip Past Charleston Southern, 3-1; Nicoletti & Braun Namded To Duke Invite All-Tourney Team

Paladins Slip Past Charleston Southern, 3-1; Nicoletti & Braun Namded To Duke Invite All-Tourney Team

DURHAM, N.C. – Furman slipped past Charleston Southern 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19) Saturday to conclude the Duke Volleyball Invitational in Durham, N.C.  Senior Carolyn Nicoletti and junior Natalie Braun represented the Paladins on the all-tournament team.

The Buccaneers jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in the first set, but the Paladins regrouped for a 15-5 run to take a 16-8 advantage.  Charleston Southern cut the lead to four at 19-15, but a kill from senior Alexis Shaffer, combined with a Buccaneer error and a kill from Braun put the Paladins ahead, 22-15.  Charleston Southern again rallied to slash the deficit to four at 22-18 before Furman scored on three out of the last four points for a 25-19 set one victory.

Charleston Southern took a quick 5-1 lead to open the second set.  Furman cut the advantage to two at 9-7, but the Buccaneers reeled off five-straight points for a 14-7.  With Charleston Southern leading 16-10, the Paladins scored on six-consecutive points, including two service aces by junior Caroline Adams, putting Furman back in the match and down by just one point.  The teams were deadlocked at 22 before the Buccaneers capitalized off a kill from Erin Lavenice and a Paladin error for a 24-22 lead.    After Furman scored off a Charleston Southern error, Lavenice chalked up another kill for the 25-23 Buccaneer set win.

Furman opened the third set with a 5-0 lead, but Charleston Southern went up 9-6 after scoring seven consecutive points.  Later in the match the Paladins put together another 5-0 run and led 13-10.  The teams traded leads and were tied at 19 before Furman ended the set with a 6-2 run for a 25-21 win.

The Paladins built a quick 10-4 lead in the fourth set.  The Buccaneers cut the deficit to 13-10, but Furman gained control of the match after a 7-1 run put the Paladins ahead 24-15.  Charleston Southern made one last effort, winning four-straight points to cut the lead to 24-19, before a Buccaneer error gave the Paladins the 25-19 victory.

"This match was a bit of a struggle for us," said Furman head coach Michelle Young following the win.  "We didn't execute as well as I would have liked, but we put together two strong back-to-back wins today.  Overall this was a very productive weekend.  We did some things well, and we now know what we need to improve on."

Braun recorded her second triple-double of the season, pacing the team with 26 assists and notching 12 kills and 13 digs.  Senior Kelly Kirby led the team with a .267 attack percentage, while adding a double-double of 23 assists and 13 kills.  Shaffer posted a season-high eight block assists, and junior Chandler Ambrester recorded a double-double of 13 kills and 12 digs.  Nicoletti paced the Paladin defensive attack, pulling in 19 digs in the win.

Charleston Southern (0-3) was led by Lavenice, who paced the team with 10 kills, and Amy Nokes, who recorded 38 assists for the Bucs.  Ashley Johnston led the team with 17 digs.

Furman (2-1) will play at Presbyterian Tuesday at 7 p.m.