By Corry Mulligan |
The Samford volleyball team earned two key road wins in just over 24 hours last weekend, defeating North Carolina-Greensboro on Friday and Elon on Saturday to remain undefeated in conference play.
“It’s arguably the hardest trip,” head coach Derek Schroeder said. “We play two very good teams, and we’re in the bus for nine hours, so it’s very hard on the girls.”
The Bulldogs found themselves trailing 12-8 in the first set against UNCG but battled back and won 27-25.
The second set proved to be quite a different story as Samford won 25-8, which is the largest margin of victory for the Bulldogs in conference play this season.
UNCG kept the score close in the third set until the Bulldogs went on a 9-1 scoring run, increasing their lead to 16-6.
Samford withstood some late resistance from the Spartans and earned a decisive third-set victory, 25-16 to complete the sweep.
“We made a small blocking scheme change [after the first set], and because of that, they were uncomfortable and we were very comfortable,” Schroeder said. “We just rolled with it.”
The Samford defensive players were clearly in their comfort zones as they tallied 61 digs, the team’s highest total in a three-game match this season.
Senior sport administration major Alexis Bauer racked up 21 of those digs, while sophomore sport administration major Chelsi Carter and senior fitness and health promotion major Casey Garvey each added 12.
Garvey also contributed 37 assists for her fourth double-double of the season.
Senior sport administration major Lauren Hutchinson led the offensive attack for the Bulldogs with 14 of the team’s 52 kills.
One day after sweeping UNCG, the Bulldogs faced off against Elon in another conference showdown.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match,” Garvey said. “They were going to fight for everything against us because we were a championship team last year.”
Much like the night before, Samford struggled early on and this time dropped the opening set 27-25.
Before this match, the Bulldogs were 1-4 this season when losing the opening set. This time they stormed back and took the next three for the four-set victory.
“We came together on our side of the court and didn’t worry about the crowd, or the other team or their coaches,” Garvey said. “We just kept everything on our side.”
Elon hung with Samford for a large portion of sets two through four, but Samford’s ability to stretch its lead late and finish made the difference as the Lady Bulldogs won 25-14, 25-22 and 25-19.
Samford’s dynamic duo of middle blockers, Hutchinson and junior exercise science major Katie Murphy, controlled the net the entire match, combining for five solo blocks and five assisted blocks.
Murphy’s three solo blocks earned her a spot in the Samford record books as tenth all-time in career solo blocks with 59.
Sophomore journalism and mass communication major Michaela Reesor led all players in kills with 17 and added ten digs for her fourth double-double of the season.
The Lady Bulldogs (14-6, 6-0 SoCon) face another road test this weekend beginning on Friday at 7:30 p.m. against College of Charleston (14-5, 5-0 SoCon) in a rematch of last year’s SoCon championship.
Samford then faces off against the Citadel (2-18, 0-6 SoCon) the next day at 7 p.m. in Charleston, S.C.