Volleyball team rebounds with victory over UNCP

Armand Broady, Sports Writer

After back-to-back home losses against conference foes, the FMU volleyball team defeated the UNC Pembroke Braves in another Peach Belt Conference match on Wednesday, Sept. 28 in three games, 25-15, 25-16, 25-18.

Leading the Patriots was senior outside hitter Ashlee Crook, who equaled her career high of 19 kills while recording a .600 attack percentage. Crook registered only one attack error in 30 hits, and she was perfect on 12 serve receptions while recording eight digs.

FMU sophomore setter Nicole Bennett posted a double-double with 37 assists and a team-high 10 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Megan Mooney added eight kills and three blocks. Senior outside hitter Amanda Mitchell knocked down seven kills for the team.

Patriots head coach Paul MacDonald said he was very pleased with his team’s play.

“I have been preaching a message of consistency, and we showed a lot of consistency,” MacDonald said. “We did a good job of taking the appropriate swings when we needed to.”

MacDonald said that it was important for his team to come out solid mentally and get back on track after the losses they suffered against USC Aiken and Lander. The head coach also said that his club showed signs of a team focused on making improvements.

As a team, FMU recorded a .453 attack percentage, the highest by a Patriot squad in the past decade. The Patriots had more overall kills (50-32) and more blocks (3-1) than the Braves.

For UNC Pembroke, senior Heather Bolwerk had eight kills, while junior setter Ashlyn Rebok handed out 25 assists. Sophomore libero Marissa Baker dug up 17 balls.

FMU used a 13-5 run to close out game one and followed that by jumping to a 15-5 advantage to start game two.

In game three, FMU snapped a 15-15 deadlock with a 7-1 burst behind the serving of Mitchell and sophomore outside hitter Paige Perreault.

Crook felt that her team played motivated volleyball against the Braves.

“We wanted to show that we’re a really good team,” Crook said. “We were just ready to play our game because we know what we can do.”

The victory improved FMU’s record to 5-8 overall and 1-2 in the PBC, while the visiting Braves dropped to 8-8 and 2-1 in the PBC.

After six games away from home, the FMU volleyball team will play two home games in a five day span, a PBC match against Flagler College on Oct. 21 and an out-of-conference match against Coker College on Oct. 25.