By Cameron Wood, Staff Writer —
For homecoming weekend, the UTC volleyball team took on Mercer and Samford, the defending Southern Conference champions. Friday night the Mocs came out flat but recovered well to defeat Samford, 3-1. For the homecoming match on Saturday, UTC swept away Mercer without much trouble, 3-0.
In the first set of the match against Samford, the Mocs looked dreadful to start, letting the Bulldogs open up a 12-5 lead early. But like they have all season, the Mocs showed a level of resolve and determination to pull it back and take a 22-20 lead. Despite that effort, Samford won the set 26-24.
The next three sets proved a different story entirely. Junior Miranda Elpers, Louisville, Kentucky, had an excellent match on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, adding 19 digs and 17 kills. Senior Lauren Greenspoon, Houston, Texas, set the Mocs up well in the attack, racking up 49 assists. These performances helped the Mocs win sets two through four with scores of 25-22, 25-17 and 25-19 respectively.
UTC coach Travis Filar spoke about the match and how important that first set was.
“We had a really rocky start, but the resiliency that we came back with drove us to the four-set win and the challenge is how to use that momentum going into the Mercer match.”
In the match against Mercer, the Mocs always looked to be in control, easily putting away the Bears in three sets 25-23, 25-14 and 25-18. This match was one that showed the Mocs’ depth and reliance on team play over individual performance. Five different players registered at least 10 digs.
The player that highlighted the Mocs’ team spirit was sophomore Bailey Clemons, Nashville, Tennessee. She ended with 10 digs, but always seemed to pop up in the right spots and served up back-to-back aces in the second set that helped put Mercer away.
Filar spoke after the Mercer match about how crucial depth is for the Mocs as a team this season.
“I think that is where our growth has come over the last three years,” said Filar. “Our depth is always going to be something that we call upon.”
With the victories over Samford and Mercer, the Mocs are now 11-9 on the season and 4-2 in SoCon play.. The Mocs return to action this Wednesday against ETSU at Maclellan Gymnasium. There will be free white-out t-shirts given out at the match against ETSU. The match is set to begin at 6 p.m.