CLINTON, S.C. – Senior Kelly Kirby recorded a double-double and led the Paladins with 27 assists and 10 digs as the Furman volleyball team blanked Presbyterian, 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25-12), Tuesday at Templeton Arena in Clinton, S.C.
After a close start to set one, Furman led 12-11 before the Paladins reeled off six-straight points behind strong serving from Kirby for an 18-11 lead. The Blue Hose scored two points to cut into the lead, but Furman ended the set winning seven out of eight points for the 25-14 win.
The two teams again battled through a close beginning to the second set. With the teams tied at eight apiece, Presbyterian won seven out of the next eight points to take a 15-9 advantage. Furman chipped away at the lead and tied the match at 19-19 off a Blue Hose error, then eventually took the lead after a service ace by senior Carolyn Nicoletti and a kill from junior Caroline Adams. The teams traded points back and forth, and the Paladins led 24-22 following a kill from junior Natalie Braun. The Blue Hose cut the lead to one off a kill by Caroline Cann, but senior Alexis Shaffer dropped in a kill to seal the 25-23 set win for Furman.
After the break, Furman came out strong in the third set and quickly built a 14-5 lead. The Blue Hose could only come within seven points of the Paladins in the final set, as Furman took a 25-12 win for the match victory.
"I was very happy with the level of focus we had in tonight's match," said Furman head coach Michelle Young following the win. "We wanted to make sure we didn't let down after a good opening weekend. In the second set we got into a little bit of trouble, but our team did a good job of staying calm and working together to win the set."
Shaffer recorded a .750 attack percentage to lead the Paladins, notching six kills, no errors and eight attempts, and junior Chandler Ambrester paced the team with 10 kills.
"Our team came into this match very focused tonight," said Shaffer after the match. "We have a tough tournament coming up in Florida this weekend, and we wanted to get a win here to keep our momentum going through the tough non-conference schedule."
Presbyterian (0-2) was led by Presley Maybrey, who paced the team with 12 kills, while Ashtin Frank tallied 22 assists for the Blue Hose.
Furman (3-1) extended its winning streak to three matches with the win. The Paladins will compete in the Homewood Suites Volleyball Invitational in Ft. Meyers, Fla., this weekend. On Friday, Furman will face Central Florida at 5 p.m. In Saturday's action, the Paladins will play #3 Southern Cal at 11:30 a.m., followed by a match-up with host Florida Gulf Coast at 7 p.m.