Volleyball outlasts Georgia in five-set thriller

By Charlie Charbonneau

UNC Mirror, U. Northern Colorado via UWIRE

The U. Northern Colorado volleyball team proved that last season’s success was no fluke, winning a five-set thriller Saturday night at the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion against the Georgia Bulldogs (25-20, 16-25, 38-36, 22-25, 15-11), which included a record-setting third set.

The UNC (6-2) defeated the Bulldogs (6-1) in the final match of the 2010 Hampton Inn & Suites Northern Colorado Classic, which proved to be for the tournament championship.

Sophomore outside hitter Kelley Arnold was named the tournament MVP, while sophomore setter Marissa Hughes and senior outside hitter Ashley Lichtenberg were named to the all-tournament team.

“Playing a team of that caliber was awesome,” Arnold said. “Being able to overcome our struggles and push through tough times to get the win was great tonight.”

The Bears got off to a quick start for the first time this season, taking an early 5-0 lead in the first set, and closing the set on a 10-3 run to take it 25-20.

“Every match this season so far we’ve been a slow-starting team,” UNC head coach Lyndsey Benson said. “We were the more aggressive team, and I think that showed in the first five points.”

In the second set, Georgia proved why it is one of the top teams in the Southeastern Conference, going on an 8-0 run to take the set 25-16.

The third set proved to be one for the ages.

Neither team led by more than two points throughout the entire set, but UNC eventually outlasted the Bulldogs, winning 38-36.

“That game will be a game I remember for my entire coaching career,” Benson said. “It was incredible some of things that we battled through and were able to pull it out somehow.”

Georgia fought hard to take the fourth set 25-22, and was ahead 10-6 in the fifth set when the Bears took over.

UNC won the final nine points of the match to take the fifth set 15-10, the match, and the championship of the tournament.

“Tonight was huge for this program,” Benson said. “We keep adding on to what we accomplished last year. To beat Georgia on our home court was pretty sweet.”

Beating a team like Georgia did more for the UNC volleyball team than simply notching another win on the schedule according to senior outside hitter Julie Stephenson.

“It gives us a lot of confidence going into the season; it shows how high of a level we can play at,” Stephenson said. “We can compete with the top teams in the nation, and we’re really excited.”

Read more here: http://www.uncmirror.com/sports/volleyball-outlasts-georgia-in-five-set-thriller-1.1572309
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