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Furman Volleyball Downs Western Carolina, 3-1, on Sunday

Jo Wilks
Jo Wilks

Cullowhee, N.C. – Behind one of its best offensive performances of the year, Furman volleyball took down SoCon-rival Western Carolina, 3-1 (21-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-21) on Sunday afternoon. The Paladins now sit at 9-8 on the year (5-1 SoCon), while the Catamounts fell to 14-6 (4-2 SoCon).

Christina Dorismond led the Paladins offensively with 18 kills and a season-high .484 hitting percentage. Annie Bierman also recorded 18 kills, which is a career high, while adding 17 digs for her third double-double of the season. Andrea Fisher and Jo Wilks each also recorded double-doubles, as Fisher added 17 kills and 17 digs, and Wilks dished out 62 assists and totaled 12 digs. Ashton Gregory was the final Paladin with double-digit kills with 17. Katie Harrell added a season-high 17 digs and Elle Ross also added 24 digs.

As a team, the Paladins hit .237 on the day and put down 72 kills. They also totaled 67 assists, 97 digs, four service aces and six team blocks. The 97 digs are a season-high for the Paladins, and the 72 kills are second best on the season.

Furman took an early 5-3 lead in set one, before Western Carolina was able to tie the set at 6. The teams traded points until, with the score tied at 9, Furman went on a 3-0 run, sparked by kills from Annie Bierman and Ashton Gregory to force a Western Carolina timeout. Out of the timeout, Furman got a service ace from Jo Wilks to spark a Paladin run to open their biggest lead of the set at 17-12. Western Carolina then went on a 5-1 run of its own to cut the Furman lead to one at 20-19 and force a Paladin timeout. After the timeout, Western Carolina continued their offensive play and regained the lead at 22-20 to force a second Furman timeout. The Paladins cut the lead to one at 22-21, but the Catamounts again went on a 3-0 run to win set one, 25-21, and take a 1-0 lead in the match.

The Paladins jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in set two behind the serving of Andrea Fisher and kills by Fisher, Bierman and Gregory to force a Western Carolina timeout. Following the TO, Furman went on a 5-4 run to push their lead to 10-6. Western Carolina cut the Furman lead to 10-7, but the Paladins then went on a 5-0 run, forcing Western Carolina to take their second timeout of the set. The Paladins pushed their lead to 20-10, their largest of the day, but Western Carolina cut the lead to 8 at 22-14. The Paladins then rattled off three-straight points to take set two, 25-14, and tie the match at one. Furman hit .333 in set two and recorded 21 kills as a team.

Western Carolina took an early 3-1 lead in set three, but the Paladins were able to use kills by Dorismond and capitalize on WCU errors to take a 9-7 lead. Furman stretched their lead to three at 10-7, but Western Carolina went on a 5-1 run to take an 11-10 lead. The Paladins battled back, however to regain the lead and stretch it to two at 16-14. After a Western Carolina kills, Furman got a kill from Christina Dorismond and a service ace by Caitlyn Scioscia to push their lead to 18-15 and force a WCU timeout. Furman then used a block by Jo Wilks, a block and kill by Ashton Gregory and a service ace from Andrea Fisher to push their lead to 21-17 and force WCU to call another timeout. The Paladins were able to hold off the Catamount rally and win set three, 25-21, to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

The teams traded points in set four until, with the score tied at 7, Furman took a 10-7 lead. Western Carolina battled back to tie the score at 10, before the teams again began trading points. Furman got consecutive blocks from Andrea Fisher and Ashton Gregory to take an 18-16 lead in the set at force a Catamount timeout. Western Carolina again battled back to tie the set at 18, then again at 19, but Furman got kills from Gregory and Fisher to stretch their lead back to two (21-19) and force another WCU timeout. The Paladins were able to fend off another Catamount rally to win set four, 25-21, and take the match, 3-1.