CULLOWHEE, NC (gomocs.com) -- The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team advances to the finals of the Southern Conference Championships for the first time since 2001 after a 3-1 win over ETSU. UTC improves to 26-5 record and 14-3 in league action.
"This group has earned the opportunity to play for this championship," head coach Travis Filar stated. "We earned the regular season championship. We're excited to play Monday night. It's what we've been dreaming of all year."
Senior Sarah Batterton (Colbert, Wash.) hit the set-winning kills in the first and third set.
Chattanooga got off to a great start, racking up five points in a row twice in the first set, including a 6-2 run to close the frame out 25-18. The Mocs recorded a .400 hitting percentage compared to the Bucs .146 clip.
"To be able to start strong two matches in a row is huge," explained Filar. "That was a real focal point of our practice and preparation and for the team to think about it and talk about it."
UTC fought back from a 17-9 deficit with a 7-2 run, but ended up dropping the second 25-18.
The third set saw seven tied scores. After going down 20-19, Chattanooga went on a 6-1 run, claiming the set 25-21.
The Mocs posted a strong performance in the fourth set, racking up points early on. UTC went on an eight-point run after 5-3, in addition to seven points in a row after having an 11-4 lead. Junior Kristy Wieser (Lincoln, Neb.) hit the match-winning kill at 25-18.
"That was awesome to be able to finish the way we did and really set the tone in sets three and four," Filar said. "We worked to really impose how we wanted to play and not worry so much about the other side."
Senior Briana Reid (Houston, Texas) and junior Allie Davenport (Tyrone, Ga.) recorded double-doubles against ETSU. Reid hit 12 kills and 17 digs, while Davenport tallied 20 kills and a tie for her season-best 18 digs.
Batterton posted 12 kills, with a strong .500 hitting percentage.
"Our offense is hard to defend because of how many attackers we have," shared Filar. "You can't key in on just one or two players."
Sophomore Madison Bergren (Muncie, Ind.) racked up 48 assists, helping the Mocs to a .281 attack percentage.
"Madison set a great match," stated Filar. "She distributed the ball great, and our attackers took care of the ball. They had aggressive swings."
Senior Catherine Chason (Alpharetta, Ga.) posted another solid performance in the back row, collecting 20 digs.
Senior Lauren Gainer (Boca Raton, Fla.) added three of the squad's eight blocks.
Chattanooga faces No. 2 Furman or No. 3 UNCG Monday at 6:00 p.m.
UTC's most recent tournament title was in 1998, where the team only lost one set while taking down ETSU (3-0), Furman (3-1) and Western Carolina (3-0).