ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. – For the second time in as many weekends the Salem volleyball team earned wins over USA South opposition in a tri-match as the Spirits emerged with a 3-1 victory (25-17, 25-14, 21-25, 25-16) against host N.C. Wesleyan before coming through with a 28-26, 25-22, 25-21 win over Greensboro on Saturday afternoon in Rocky Mount, N.C.
MATCH 1: Salem 3, N.C. Wesleyan 1
Brooklyn Snow finished with a match-high 13 kills, while Taylor Moulton added 16 digs and 11 kills to help lead Salem to a 25-17, 25-14, 21-25, 25-16 over N.C. Wesleyan in the first match of the afternoon for the Spirits.
Joining Moulton in double-digit digs was Kathryn O'Connell (21), Corrin Shores (15), Valeria Rosa Lopez (13) and Hannah Delcamp, who provided 11 digs and 37 assists as she emerged with her fifth double-double of the slate. The Spirits, who picked up their eighth win of the season, were also active up front with 14 assisted blocks, led by O'Connell (four), Anna Schneider (three) and three others with two each.
Behind two kills from Snow and slams from the combination of O'Connell, Moulton and Madelyn Chappell the Spirits established a pair of five-point leads early in the first game. However, N.C. Wesleyan fought back to pull even at 11-all, marking the first of four ties in a 10-point span, before Salem assumed a lead it would not relinquish (17-16) on a timely kill by O'Connell. Rosa Lopez added a service ace to stretch the margin to two, but it was two kills from Moulton coupled with O'Connell in serve, which resulted in five straight unforced errors by the Battling Bishops, that resulted in the win.
Two kills each from Schneider and Chappell allowed Salem to snag a 10-6 advantage early in the second set. The Spirits stretched that lead to five with a kill from O'Connell, forcing a N.C. Wesleyan timeout, but it did not derail the Salem offense which tallied eight of the next nine points, resulting in a 23-11 lead. A Moulton kill, coupled with assisted blocks by Schneider and Snow provided Salem with a 2-0 advantage with the 11-point win.
The Battling Bishops capitalized on four kills from Lauren Weaver and three off the hand of Sydney Barnwell in the third set as they sliced the Salem lead to 2-1 with a four-point victory. Salem's offense was off-balance for much of the set, despite four kills from Moulton and three from Snow, as the Spirits committed nine errors.
The Spirits regained their composure and got back on track in the fourth by jumping out to a 14-9 lead as Schneider penetrated the N.C. Wesleyan with three kills and the tandem of O'Connell and Rosa Lopez added two service aces each.
The Battling Bishops sliced the margin to three, 15-12, but it was the service game of Alexis Sunderland that got Salem back on track in the waning stages. Salem capitalized on a Sunderland service ace, two assisted blocks by O'Connell and a kill from Chappell to move in front 22-14. Snow and O'Connell added two late kills, while Rosa Lopez tacked on a service ace to complete the four-set win.
MATCH 2: Salem 3, Greensboro 0
Kathryn O'Connell had a solid all-around performance that included a match-high 12 kills, 10 digs, four solo blocks and three assisted blocks as she notched her sixth double-double of the season in leading Salem past rival Greensboro by scores of 28-26, 25-22, 25-21.
Moulton narrowly missed a double-double for the Spirits, finishing with nine kills and nine digs, while Valeria Rosa Lopez came through with a match-high 12 digs for Salem. Hannah Delcamp piloted the offense with 32 assists, while adding seven digs.
Trailing by five points on two occasions in the opening set, including a 21-16 deficit, Salem took advantage of a Schneider kill and two service aces by O'Connell to force the first of five ties in the game. The Spirits briefly took the lead with slams by O'Connell and Moulton, but the lead evaporated with a kill by Katrina O'Neill. Moulton tied the contest at 24 with a kill of her own before a series of slams by Schneider gave the Spirits a 27-26 edge. Alexis Sunderland's serve caught Hailey Stout off guard, resulting in the decisive point, as Salem clinched the win.
The Spirits were again forced to come-from-behind after trailing 10-3 in the second set. Five kills from O'Connell, along with a service ace by Shores completed the comeback, 12-10, as Salem eventually stretched the lead to 19-15 on a series of kills from Brooklyn Snow. Three unforced errors by Greensboro coupled with kills from O'Connell and Moulton provided Salem with the three-point victory.
Salem broke a nine-all deadlock in the third set with a 5-1 run, highlighted by two kills from O'Connell, to grab a 14-10 lead. The Pride retaliated by scoring seven of the next 11 points, trimming the margin to one, but a series of unforced Greensboro errors along with a kill from Chappell provided Salem with the 22-17 lead. Greensboro made one last push, cutting the lead to 23-20, but errors allowed the Spirits to complete the sweep.
The Spirits remain on the road for their next match, which will take place at Pfeiffer on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. For more information on Salem volleyball check out www.salemspirits.com.