UNA volleyball downs Shorter in four sets

Junior libero Ashtyn Kapovich (17) and sophomore setter Jayden Davila-McClary (20) dive for the ball in the Lions game versus Shorter Oct. 22. UNA won the match 3-1 after previously falling to Shorter on the road 3-2 Sept. 16.

by Sports Editor Andrew Fulmer

The UNA volleyball team earned its second victory in as many days as the Lions defeated the Shorter Hawks 3-1 in Flowers Hall Oct. 22.

The Lions (21-4, 11-3 Gulf South Conference) avenged an early season 3-2 defeat when they played at Shorter (15-6, 10-3 GSC) Sept. 16. 

“I’m excited about the win,” said UNA head coach Stephanie Radecki. “Shorter is an amazing team. They’re very resilient and determined. They bring balls back until you either make a mistake or put the ball away. Our girls handled that pretty well today, and I’m excited about that.”

If there was an indicator that today’s match was going to be a highly contested one, the first set would be it.

The Lions and Hawks went back and forth, exchanging points until Shorter claimed the first set 26-24.

Radecki said she told the players they needed to play better early in the sets to avoid facing an uphill battle.

“They started (the first set) with a 5-0 run,” Radecki said. “You can’t spot a team five points. That’s never good. So, I told them we needed to start earlier, and stop worrying about the outcome.”

Radecki’s advice to the players worked as the Lions went on to win three sets in a row with scores of 25-18, 25-19 and 25-15.

Offensively, UNA had four players achieve double digit kills in the match. Junior outside hitter Lexie Bradley led the way with 17 kills, followed by senior outside hitter Peyton Lang with 14. Then, senior outside hitter Natasha Fomina had 13 and junior middle hitter Jessica Austin had 10.

Sophomore setter Jayden Davila-McClary totaled 50 assists during the match, averaging 12.5 per set.

“I think we definitely improved from the last time we played Shorter,” Davila-McClary said. “We had a game plan, and we did what we were supposed to do, so I know we are all super excited about the win.”

Defensively, the Lions amassed 90 total digs. Junior libero Ashtyn Kapovich led the team with 23, followed by Lang with 19 to give her a double-double.

The victory over Shorter moves UNA up to second place in the GSC standings behind West Florida.

UNA begins a four game road trip when they next play at Christian Brothers Oct. 28. The Lions next game back home is Nov. 11 when they take on the first place Argonauts of West Florida.