Braves volleyball falls to NGU in CC semifinals

Staff report

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Hot-handed and top-seeded North Greenville hit nearly .350 at the net and took advantage of 16 attack errors by the UNC Pembroke volleyball team to fuel a 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-7, 25-18) of the Braves in the semifinal round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament on Friday evening.

The setback snaps the lid on a magical season for the Black & Gold (23-11) who registered its most conference victories in school history, while also posting its most overall victories since the 1994 campaign, under first-year head coach Carly Wehling. North Greenville advances to Saturday’s league championship where it will take on Conference Carolinas regular season champion Francis Marion.

North Greenville amassed 15 kills and took advantage of a trio of service aces to grab the early advantage on the night. The Crusaders tacked up four of the first five points to forge a lead they would not relinquish, and then used a 7-2 run later in the stanza to distance themselves for good, winning 25-18.

The Crusaders came out of the second-set gates firing on all cylinders, and hit .545 at the net on the way to building a 14-3 lead. The Braves temporarily plugged the flood gates with consecutive points, but North Greenville resumed its surge and captured 11 of the set’s final 13 points to close it out at 25-7.

The squads split the first four points of what would turn out to be the final set of the set, but North Greenville strung together three-straight points after that to take the lead for good. A run of four-straight points later in the set provided the final margin of 25-18.

Brianna Warren, Elly Hicks and Katelyn West each had seven kills for UNCP; Katie Pressley had 23 assists and Elise Martin had 13 digs.

The Braves have now split four meetings in their series with North Greenville that dates back to the 2005 season. The Crusaders are now 2-1 against UNCP on a neutral court, while the Black & Gold registered a 3-1 victory earlier this season in Tigerville, S.C.