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Furman Holds Off Montana, 3-1

Furman Holds Off Montana, 3-1

MISSOULA, MONT. – Senior Natalie Braun recorded her fifth double-double of the season with a team-high 15 kills and 16 digs as the Furman volleyball team extended its winning streak to eight matches with a 3-1 (25-21, 25-16, 20-25, 25-17) victory at Montana Friday to open the Best Western Grant Creek Inn Invitational.

Furman put together a 5-0 run fueled by two service aces from senior Chandler Ambrester to overcome a 13-11 deficit, taking a 16-13 lead in the opening set.  The Grizzlies remained within one of the Paladins at 19-18, but four-consecutive Furman points, including back-to-back kills from Braun, gave the Paladins a 23-18 advantage.  Montana answered with a 3-1 run, before a final kill from junior Christina Dorismond sealed the 25-21 set victory for Furman.

The teams battled to a 15-15 tie in the second set before strong serving by Paladin freshman Caitlyn Scioscia sparked an 8-0 scoring spree to give Furman a 23-15 lead.  The Paladins won the set, 25-16, to take a 2-0 lead at the intermission.

Montana came out strong following the break, building a quick 11-5 lead over the Paladins to open set three.  A 6-1 Furman run kept the Paladins in the set at 12-11, before the Grizzlies scored three-straight to maintain control and hold on for a 25-20 set victory.

Following a 6-6 tie to open the fourth set, the Paladins put together a 5-1 run to lead 11-7.  Montana kept the set within reach at 17-14, but Furman won six out of the next seven points to maintain the team's momentum, taking a 25-17 set victory for the win.

Senior Caroline Adams hit .522 with 13 kills in the Paladin victory, while Ambrester notched a double-double with 13 kills and 12 digs.  Dorismond recorded a .433 attack percentage with 14 kills, and junior Elle Ross posted a team-high 22 digs.  Freshman Jo Wilks paced the team with 55 assists. 

Paige Branstiter hit .417 with 19 kills to lead Montana (1-6).  Kayla Reno added 12 kills, while Samantha Mass paced the Grizzlies with 18 digs.

Furman (9-1) will face Texas Tech Saturday at noon then play Towson at 6:30 p.m. to conclude the tournament.