Greenville, S.C. – Annie Bierman turned up her first 20-kill match of the year and Furman volleyball downed Charlotte, 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 25-17), in the Paladins' 2016 home opener. The win moves the Paladins to 4-8 to end the nonconference portion of the year, while the loss drops the 49ers to 6-8.
Bierman led the Paladin with 20 kills, adding 11 digs for her eighth double-double of the year, while Christen Sikora added a season-high 13 kills and 17 digs for her second double-double of the year. Jamila Johnson tallied a career-high 19 digs and Jordan McNeill added a career-high 16. Hunter Thompson dished out 46 assists and the Paladins out-hit the 49ers .226 to .153.
The two teams traded points early in the first set, until Furman used a 6-1 run to take a 19-14 lead. A kill by Hunter Thompson and another by Cynthia Ley pushed Furman's lead to 22-16, forcing Charlotte to call its second timeout of the set. The teams then traded points again, allowing the Paladins to take set one, 25-18, for a 1-0 match lead.
Charlotte jumped out to a 10-8 lead in the second set, before Anna Eckstein served Furman on a 6-0 run to give the Paladins a 13-10 advantage. The 49ers cut the lead to one at 15-14, but Furman used a 4-1 run to regain a four-point advantage at 19-15. Charlotte again cut the lead to one at 23-22, but a kill by Annie Bierman and block by Cynthia Ley gave the Paladins the 25-22 set two victory and 2-0 match lead.
Furman used a 7-1 run to take a 10-7 lead to open set three, but the teams traded points until Charlotte used a 4-0 run of its own to take a 16-14 lead over the Paladins, prompting a Furman timeout. The 49ers pushed their lead to three at 18-15, then used a 4-0 run to close out the set to take it 25-20 and force the match into a fourth set.
The Paladins opened set four on a 10-2 run and held the early lead until Charlotte cut the lead to four at 15-11, using a 5-0 run of its own. The teams then traded points until Furman capitalized on three Charlotte errors and got a kill from Taina Joseph to grab match point at 24-15. Charlotte cut the lead to 24-17 on back-to-back kills, but the Paladins got a kill from Taina Joseph to win set four, 25-17, and take the match, 3-1.
The Paladins return to Alley Gym on Friday night, opening SoCon play against ETSU at 6:00 p.m.