Jacksonville, Fla. – Madison Gresham put down five of her twelve kills in the match's final set, as Furman held off a New Mexico rally to take the match, 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 25-16, 22-25, 15-9) in the Saturday morning match at the UNF Invitational. The win moves the Paladins to 3-5 on the year, while the loss drops New Mexico to 4-4.
Gresham and Jordan McNeill tied for the team lead in kills with 12, while McNeill picked up a double-double with 15 digs. Carris Campbell put down 10 kills, while Hunter Thompson dished out 45 assists and turned-in a team-high 19 digs. The Paladins hit .591 as a team in the fifth set, putting down 13 kills.
The teams traded points in the first set until New Mexico used a 5-0 run to take a 16-11 lead and force a Furman timeout. The Paladins couldn't cut into the lead, as UNM took set one, 25-16, for a 1-0 match lead.
Furman jumped out to an early lead in the second set, and held on to a slim lead throughout the set. The Paladins pushed the lead to three at 21-18 and the Lobos wouldn't cut the lead any closer, as Furman got a kill from Jordan McNeill to end it, 25-22, and tie the match at one.
McNeill served the Paladins to a 9-3 lead in the third set, and later, back-to-back blocks by Lydia Morris and Neci Harris gave the Paladins an 18-13 advantage. New Mexico used a timeout after the Paladins grabbed a 19-14 lead, then Jamila Johnson served the Paladins on a 4-0 run to push the lead to nine at 23-14. Furman took set three, 25-16, for a 2-1 match advantage.
The teams traded points in the fourth set until New Mexico opened a 20-17 lead, forcing a Paladin timeout. Furman couldn't cut into the lead any further, as the Lobos held on to take set four, 25-22, to force a fifth set.
Furman jumped out to a 7-3 advantage in the fifth set, behind three kills from Madison Gresham. New Mexico used a timeout and a 5-2 run to cut the lead to 10-8, forcing a Furman timeout, but the Paladins held off the Lobos to push the lead to 13-9 and force a second UNM timeout. Out of the timeout, the Paladins used a New Mexico error and a kill by Jamila Johnson to take the fifth, 15-9, and the match, 3-2.
Furman is back in action tonight at 7:00 p.m., closing out the UNF Invitational against the tournament-host Ospreys. The match is set to be streamed on UNF's Facebook Live.