DANVILLE, Va. – The duo of Taylor Moulton and Kathryn O'Connell recorded 14 kills apiece, but it was not enough to hold off Greensboro's trio of Sarah Egbers (19 kills), Hailey Stout (16) and Carly Uhlir (11), who carried The Pride to a 20-25, 15-25, 25-16, 25-21, 15-11 win in the opening round of the USA South Conference Volleyball Championships at Averett University in Danville, Va.
Moulton capped off a double-double performance with a team-best 24 digs, one of five Spirits to finish with double-digit digs. The others included Hannah Delcamp, who had 22 digs along with a match-high 47 assists, while Valeria Rosa Lopez and Alexis Sunderland added 17 digs. Teammate Corrin Shores also eclipsed double-digit digs with 12.
The Spirits (14-14) rebounded from a four-point deficit in the opening set to draw even at 11-all with a service ace by Delcamp. The two teams battled to a 15-15 deadlock, prior to a Salem timeout, which was followed by two kills each by O'Connell and Madelyn Chappell, resulting in a 20-17 advantage. Moulton added two kills down the stretch, while Anna Schneider and Brooklyn Snow added one each, to complete the five-point Salem win.
Greensboro (17-16) built a four-point lead, 6-2, early in the second, but Salem bounded back with kills from O'Connell and Chappell to pull even at 10. The two teams would endure two more ties before a kill by Chappell sparked a 7-1 run that forged the Spirits in front 19-13. A pair of miscues accounted for the final two points by The Pride as Rosa Lopez added a service ace and forced three errors to give Salem the 10-point victory.
The Pride bounced back in the third set, jumping out to a 7-2 lead before timely kills by Snow and Chappell pulled the set even at nine. Greensboro scored five unanswered, assuming a 14-9 lead, but slams by O'Connell and Moulton got Salem into double figures at 17-12. With a 21-14 lead, Greensboro overcame kills by Snow and Chappell to pick up the win.
Greensboro again grabbed the early lead, moving in front 8-3 in the fourth, but the Spirits fought back to even the score at nine-all. Kills by Moulton and Schneider were not enough to get the Salem offense going, as The Pride had an 8-3 run en route to a 19-14 advantage. O'Connell and Schneider penetrated the Greensboro defense with kills, trimming the margin to 22-20, but back-to-back kills by Sarah Egbers and Hailey Stout tied the match at 2-2 with the 25-21 win.
The back-and-forth battle for the lead continued into the fifth as The Pride established a 4-1 lead only to see Salem pull within one, 6-5, following an error with Shores in serve. Greensboro moved back in front by four, but slams from Moulton and an attack error made for a 11-10 Pride lead. Salem managed just one point throughout the remainder of the set as Greensboro advanced to meet Averett in the USA South Conference Quarterfinals.