October 28, 2012

Wildcats Edge Bulldogs in Five Set Thriller

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Four Citadel players reached double figures in kills, including Ise d'Angelo who notched a match-high 15, but it was Davidson that took advantage of Caroline Brown's 28 kills as the Wildcats earned a hard fought 25-16, 26-24, 27-29, 25-22 and 19-17 victory over the Dogs at McAlister Field House on Sunday afternoon.

D'Angelo was joined by Lauren Hurt (14 kills), Rachael Farrell (14 kills) and Jessica Maxwell (13 kills) as The Citadel posted 70 kills and a .189 hitting percentage. Erin Bucherl anchored the defense with 29 digs, while Farrell completed her team-best fifth double-double by adding 25 digs. Also key for the Bulldogs defense were Maxwell's three assisted blocks. Freshman Rachel Keefer handed out 58 assists for The Citadel, who dropped to 5-24 overall and 0-12 in SoCon action following the loss.

Brown led the way for a Davidson unit that tallied 78 kills and hit .237 on the contest. Also posting double-digit kill performances for the Wildcats were Tindall Sewell (17 kills) and Taylor Pisel (11 kills). The Davidson back row held an eight-dig advantage due in large part to 40 kills by Molly Crenshaw. Other solid defensive outings came from Anastasia Owen (19 digs), Brown (14 digs) and Ariel Ley (13 digs). Ley was also responsible for 69 assists as Davidson moved to 9-13 overall and 5-7 in conference play.

The two teams battled to a four all tie early in the first set before d'Angelo drove home a kill to give The Citadel its first lead. Davidson bounced back with a kill by Megan Chamberlain, which was followed by consecutive kills off the hand of Brown. Clinging to a 7-5 advantage, the 'Cats put together a 12-4 run, highlighted by two kills each from Brown and Shannon McPherson, to take a commanding 19-9 lead. The Bulldogs answered with Bailey Kernodle in serve, converting two unforced errors to reach double figures, but it was kills down the stretch by Rachel Earnhardt, Pisel and McPherson that made for the 25-16 win.

Davidson's offense continued to click in the opening frame of the second set as they established a 6-0 lead. The Citadel answered with eight of the next 10 points, keyed by kills from Hurt, Farrell and d'Angelo to make for an 8-8 tie. Strikes by the front row of Keefer, Hurt and d'Angelo gave the Cadets a 12-10 lead, which they managed to hold until a flurry of points by Davidson knotted the game at 19-19. A kill by Rudnik, teamed with an unforced Wildcat error, provided a 21-19 cushion. The Citadel lead stooduntil kills by Earnhardt and Pisel provided Davidson with the 25-24 advantage. Following a timeout by the Bulldogs, Brown drove home the decisive 26-24 winner.

The two teams traded jabs in the early going of the third set, battling to a 4-4 tie before Davidson put together a 5-1 run, keyed by a pair of unforced errors, to move in front 9-5. The 'Cats eventually built a 19-14 lead, but behind kills from Farrell, d'Angelo and Hurt, The Citadel chipped away and sent the game to a 23-23 tie. The teams split each of the next six points, making a 26-26 deadlock, before a kill by Farrell and a Davidson unforced error made for the 29-27 Citadel victory.

Early kills by Maxwell and Keefer maintained third set momentum for The Citadel as the two teams reached a 5-5 tie. The Dogs rattled off nine of the next 13 points, including consecutive kills by Farrell, Rudnik, d'Angelo and Hurt to make for a 14-9 score. Led by Crenshaw, the Wildcats scored the next five points and again forced a tie, 14-14. Trading points, the two teams were tied five times before the Cadets grabbed a 20-19 lead on a kill by Hurt. Kills down the stretch by the front row combination of d'Angelo and Maxwell completed the 25-22 Bulldog win.

The battle for supremacy continued in the final set as Davidson grabbed an early 7-4 lead behind a series of Bulldog unforced errors. The 'Cats pushed the lead to four, 11-7, before three Farrell kills teamed with a ball handling error by Ley made for an 11-11 tie. Twelve points and five ties later the teams reached a 17-17 deadlock, which was broken when Sewell drove a Ley pass past The Citadel defense and following a second Sewell kill, Davidson completed the 19-17 victory.

The Citadel returns to action on Wednesday, Oct. 31 when they travel to Savannah State for a 6 p.m. meeting with the Tigers. For more information on Citadel athletics visit www.citadelsports.com.