09/20/04 — Mount Olive sweeps Anderson in home CVAC match

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Mount Olive sweeps Anderson in home CVAC match

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 20, 2004 1:55 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- First-year Mount Olive College women's volleyball coach Sasha Gutor felt the team played well in Sunday afternoon's sweep of conference rival Anderson (S.C.) College.

The players' faces expressed a different emotion.

The host Trojans worked through a near-disastrous second set and fought off a third-set rally en route to a 30-19, 30-26, 30-24 victory at College Hall. Mount Olive climbed to 5-1 against NCAA Division II Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference opposition and dealt Anderson (9-4) its third league defeat in four outings.

MOC Anderson volleyball

Bobby Williams

Mount Olive middle hitter Colby Manhum (9) gets her fingertips on the ball as teammates Heidi Busch (7) and Ashley Napoles (12) prepare for the dig.

"We needed to overcome some simple mistakes, but step-by-step, we're continuing to develop," Gutor said.

Mount Olive (8-4) surrendered 30 points on unforced errors, including 15 in the second set. Anderson erased a six-point deficit and forged ahead 21-17 when junior setter Sara Christie pushed a set too far wide for teammate Anna Luft.

Gutor substituted Aileen Torres for Christie, and the sophomore setter from Cuba responded. Torres assisted Heidi Busch on a kill that ignited 5-1 run. Busch blocked an off-speed hit Mindy Salley and Torres put down a crosscourt kill off Colby Mangum's pass for a 22-22 tie. Anderson helped with two unforced errors during the momentum-changing spurt.

"Aileen played very well for us today," Gutor said. "Sometimes you have to change things up to get the momentum back and Aileen gave us a spark in game two."

The teams battled to ties of 23-23 and 24-24 before freshman Sam Mitchell started a 4-1 run with a kill off a Torres assist. After another unforced error, this one by Mount Olive, freshman Ashley Napoles retained the sideout with a kill.

Mitchell smashed a kill off an Anderson block attempt to make it 28-25. Mount Olive benefited from a ball-handling error and yielded one set point before closing it out 30-26.

The third set featured seven ties and seven lead changes until Mount Olive finally took control. Busch's kill, one of 15 on the afternoon, started another 5-0 run. Salley, Anderson's setter, committed a crucial ball-handling mistake and Busch served ace to make it 17-14.

Mitchell blocked a solid kill attempt by Catie Cornett and Busch provided another ace for a 19-14 lead. However, Anderson stayed within striking distance behind the play of Cornett, fellow sophomore Shaunte Heyward and Ryan Johnson.

The trio helped the visitors close within three points on two occasions and sparked a late-set rally that nearly silenced the College Hall crowd. Busch's block and Napoles' kill gave Mount Olive a commanding 29-21 as some fans headed toward the door.

Cornett connected on an off-speed hit, Mount Olive committed a hitting error and Johnson slammed a kill to the backline. Anderson had pulled within 29-24 before Busch hammered a kill through the double block of Cornett-Beth Lawson to end the match.

Busch finished with 15 kills, while Mitchell contributed 11. Mount Olive hit .263 as a team with 46 kills and 16 errors in 114 attempts. Mitchell collected three solo blocks.

Sophomore libero Nikki Murphy, Napoles and Busch each had nine digs defensively.

Mount Olive swept a CVAC opponent for the fifth time this season and claimed a conference win at home for 18th time in its last 20 tries. The Trojans continue play at home Wednesday against Pfeiffer University.