Patriots defeat UNC Pembroke

Brandon Ryback, Sports Writer

The FMU women’s volleyball team extended its winning streak to four in a row after a three-set sweep of UNC Pembroke Braves.

The spotlight of the night belonged to freshman Meghan Dash, who registered 11 kills and had a 0.524 hitting percentage in her first career start for the Patriots. Senior Caroline Boone followed Dash, finishing the match with 10 kills and three blocks. Freshman Kaitlyn Ziegelmaier led her team in the assist category, finishing the game with a tally of 36 assists. Sophomore Georgia Garrison served four aces and found herself under the ball numerous times, recording 12 digs, which was second to FMU libero Natalie Vaughn who finished with 15 digs.

The first set found the Patriots trading points with the braves until the game was tied at 9. A 14-3 run by the Patriots ended the tie and powered the Patriots past the Braves at 25-13.

“As long as we keep talking on the court and communicating, nothing can stop us,” freshman player Alanna Anon said.

The second set featured a more intense game when the Patriots found themselves struggling to take the lead and keep it. The game saw nine ties and one lead change. After the Patriots held off a Braves rally, Boone and Garrison came up big, registering kills to end the set 25-22. FMU kept their foot on the gas during the third set when they took the lead from the first point and didn’t relinquish it for the remainder of the final set at home for the Patriots.

“They played good,” sophomore business major Alexia Ford said. “They communicated well, which made it easier to understand the plays. They played a strong determined and motivated game.”

The Patriots are now holding onto fourth place in the Peach Belt Conference and have an overall record of 15-10.

This game was head coach Paul MacDonald’s final regular season home game with the Patriots. After the game MacDonald said that he was proud of his players for the three set sweep of their Peach Belt opponent. He said adjustments had to be made during the week, and his team was willing to make the changes. He played a few girls in positions they had never played before, and he was happy with the performance and character that everyone on the team showed.

“It sends a message to the team that everyone should be ready to do whatever, when are called upon, even if it is not what they were expecting,” MacDonald said. “That really is a proud moment for me as a coach.”

He was impressed with how ready they were and how focused they were in the wake of Fall Break.

“Sometimes it is hard to focus when you’re looking forward to a couple days off and I think they did the right thing and stayed focused,” MacDonald said. “We took an early lead in each one of the sets. For those reasons I am really thrilled.”

The Patriots will be on the road for the final two games of the season, participating in the Peach Belt Conference tournament on Nov 18-20.