MURFREESBORO, TENN. – Senior Natalie Braun recorded a 20-20 match, tying her career-high with 21 kills and adding 22 digs to lead the Furman volleyball team to a 3-2 (25-23, 30-32, 16-25, 25-23, 15-10) win over UAB at the Blue Raider Dash Saturday in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Paladin rookie Jo Wilks notched the first double-double of her collegiate career, adding 58 assists and 11 digs.
Down 15-10 in the opening set, the Paladins reeled off five-straight points to tie the set. The teams battled through seven additional ties to settle at 23-all before Furman capitalized off an Blazer attack error and a block assist by seniors Christina Curry and Caroline Adams, taking a 25-23 set victory.
Following eight ties in the beginning of the second set, the teams were deadlocked at 12-all before UAB's 5-2 run gave the Blazers a 17-14 lead. The Paladins scored two-straight, but UAB answered with three points of their own to maintain a 20-16 lead. A 7-1 run turned the tide, giving the Paladins a 23-21 advantage, but the Blazers won three out of the next four points to tie the set at 24. After six back-and-forth ties, the teams were gridlocked at 30 before UAB claimed two-straight points for the set win, tying the match at 1-1 at the break.
Furman answered in the third set, jumping out to a quick 15-6 lead en route to a 25-16 win. UAB grabbed a 11-6 lead to open set four, and maintained control of the set until Furman clinched four-unanswered points to take a 21-19 lead, its first since the set's opening point. The Blazers scored two-consecutive points to tie the set at 21-all. Following ties at 22 and 23, UAB claimed the set's final two points, taking a 25-23 victory to push the match to a decisive fifth set.
Following a 3-3 tie, Furman put together a 7-1 run to lead 10-4 in the final set. UAB answered with a 6-2 run to come within two points at 12-10 before Adams claimed back-to-back kills and a block to clinch the 15-10 Paladin win.
Adams led all Paladin hitters with a .469 attack percentage, tallying 17 kills and five block assists, while junior Christina Dorismond added 12 kills and five total blocks. Junior libero Elle Ross paced the Paladin defense with a career-high 28 digs, and fellow junior Amanda Komisarow posted a career-high 10 digs. Senior Chandler Ambrester recorded eight kills for the Paladins, while freshman Amanda Bohlander collected seven kills.
Michele Simmons led UAB (1-3) with 13 kills and a .444 attack percentage, while Kiriana Hirini also added 13 kills. Alison Woods recorded a double-double with 30 assists and 10 kills, and Rachel Fairbanks notched a team-high 31 digs.
The Paladins posted a 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-19) win over Texas San Antonio Saturday night to close out the tournament.
Furman trailed throughout the first set but battled back to tie the set at 19 off a kill from Wilks. A second-consecutive kill by Wilks gave the Paladins their first lead of the match as Furman clinched a 25-20 victory over the Roadrunners after winning seven out of the last eight points of the opening set.
The Paladins jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second set and maintained the lead throughout the set, taking a 25-20 victory to lead 2-0 at the intermission. After a close beginning to the third set, the teams were tied at 17 before back-to-back kills by Braun gave Furman an edge. The Roadrunners kept the match close, coming within one point at 20-19 before the Paladins scored the last five points of the match for a 25-19 victory.
Braun notched her second double-double of the day, tallying 18 kills and 12 digs, while Ross added 12 digs. Ambrester recorded 12 digs, and Wilks claimed 34 assists and four kills. Adams hit .636 with eight kills and four blocks.
The Roadrunners (2-1) were led by Whitney Walls, who hit .455 with 12 kills. Annie Kunes added 18 digs, while Brandy Huskey topped the team with 34 assists.
Furman (3-1) returns to action next weekend at the Charleston Southern Tournament. The Paladins open the tournament versus Mercer Friday morning at 11 a.m.