Boiling Springs, N.C. – Taina Joseph and Annie Bierman each put down 12 kills and Furman swept Gardner-Webb on Tuesday, 25-13, 28-26, 25-20. The win moves Furman to 5-4 on the season, while the loss drops the Runnin' Bulldogs to 4-8.
Joseph finished with 12 kills and a team-high .348 hitting percentage, adding four blocks to her stat line, while Bierman added 11 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. Jo Wilks dished out 34 assists and Meg DeMaar added 13 digs. Gardner-Webb did not have a player with double-digit kills and the Paladins held the Runnin' Bulldogs to a .183 hitting percentage on the night.
Gardner-Webb jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in set one, before Christen Sikora served four-straight to give the Paladins the 6-5 lead. The teams then traded points until an ace by Annie Bierman opened Furman's largest lead at 10-8. Two straight Runnin' Bulldog errors pushed Furman's lead to 12-8 and forced GWU to take its first timeout. The teams then traded points until a service ace by Hunter Thompson and kill by Taina Joseph pushed Furman's lead to 19-12 and forced the Runnin' Bulldogs to use their final timeout of the set. The Paladins closed out the set on a 6-1 run to win it, 25-13, and take a 1-0 match lead.
Gardner-Webb jumped out to an early lead in the second set, but three-straight Runnin' Bulldog errors gave Furman the 5-4 lead. The Runnin' Bulldogs grabbed the momentum back from the Paladins, however, using five-straight points to force a Furman timeout. The Paladins then used a 5-2 run, fueled by three GWU errors, to cut the lead to 12-10 and force a Runnin' Bulldog timeout. Gardner-Webb pushed its lead back to four at 16-12, then again at 18-14. Furman cut the lead to two at 18-16, but Gardner-Webb again pushed the lead to four at 20-16, prompting the Paladins' final timeout of the set. Furman would rally, however, using a 7-2 lead to take a 23-22 lead. The teams then traded points until a great hustle play by the Paladins and kill by Christen Sikora gave Furman the 28-26 set two win and 2-0 match lead.
Furman opened up an early 5-3 lead in the third set and the teams traded points until Gardner-Webb used back-to-back kills to tie the set at 7. Furman then used a 5-2 run to take a 12-9 lead in the set and force the Runnin' Bulldogs to use their first timeout. Gardner-Webb used a 5-3 run out of the timeout to cut the lead to one at 15-14, but the Paladins used a 3-1 run to open up an 18-15 lead. Gardner-Webb cut the lead to two at 19-17, but Furman used back-to-back points to take a 21-17 lead and force the Runnin' Bulldogs to use their final timeout of the set. Furman outscored Gardner-Webb 4-3 over the final points of the set to take set three, 25-20, and the match, 3-0.
Furman is back in action on Friday night as the Paladins travel to Charlotte, N.C., to face the 49ers in a 6:00 pm matchup.