The women’s volleyball team (1-2) started their season at the University of Central Florida Classic tournament with games against Central Florida, Liberty, and Jacksonville. Though the Lions lost the first two matches, 3-0 to Central Florida and 3-1 to Liberty, they were able to bounce back with a three-set sweep over Jacksonville.
The Light Blue began their season against the tournament host, UCF. Despite extending the third set to extra points, the Lions lost in straight sets, 25-16, 25-15, 27-25. Senior outside hitter Megan Gaughn had nine digs and sophomore defensive specialist Molly Winger had six digs, but the team could not find an answer to UCF outside hitter Angelica Crump, who had 18 kills in the match. Sophomore outside hitter Caitlin Brenton continues to display her offensive prowess after ending her first year with 138 kills in 23 matches, and she led the team with eight kills.
In their second match of the day, the Lions won their first set against Liberty University, but ultimately lost 3-1 (17-25, 25-16, 25-17, 26-24). After winning the first set, the Lions were only down 17-14 in the second set, but could not find a way to come back as Liberty closed out the set with an 8-2 run. Liberty then won the next two sets to clinch the match, though the Light Blue put up a fight in the last set, tying the game at 24-24 before Liberty picked up two kills for the win. Freshman outside hitter Atlanta Moye-McLaren had seven kills and an ace while junior middle blocker Savannah Fletcher got 11 kills on 16 swings for a 0.625 hitting percentage. Brenton again led the team offensively with 14 kills on 33 attempts.
On the second day of the tournament, the Lions won their first match of the season, sweeping Jacksonville in three straight sets, 25-12, 25-22, 25-19.
At 11-7, Jacksonville called a timeout to try to slow the Light Blue down, but the Lions outscored Jacksonville 14-5 after the timeout to close out the set. The scoreline was much closer in the second and third sets, but the Lions went on a 5-0 run in the second set and a 10-3 run in the third set to keep Jacksonville from picking up a set. Gaughn had an offensive breakthrough with a team high nine kills. Moye-McLaren had a solid all-around performance with six kills and 12 digs for the match.
Brenton was named to the UCF All-Tournament team for recording 27 kills, seven digs, and four blocks over the three matches.
The Lions next travel to Newark, Del. to play in the University of Delaware Invitational from Sept. 7 to Sept. 8. Their first match will be against the hosts at 12 p.m. on Friday.