Lions top Chargers in 3-1 thriller

The UNA volleyball team defeated the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers 3-1 in a thriller Thursday night at home.

The Lions, who improved to 22-6 overall and 15-2 in the Gulf South Conference with the win, avenged an earlier loss to the Chargers this season.

“It was a very close match that I feel, at times, could’ve gone either way,” said head coach Stephanie Radecki. “It was big to get this win because every set was very close, and it came down to some big plays.”

The first set was the most lopsided of the match, but even that was a fight for the Lions. Both teams traded points until the score read 10-9 in UNA’s favor. A kill by Jessica Austin gave the Lions a 12-9 lead and put the Lions on a roll, eventually winning the set 25-16.

The second set was a tight one. The Chargers put up a four-point lead late, but the Lions came back to tie it 24-24. A few attack errors at the end cost UNA and UAH took set two 26-24.

“The first game or two we weren’t really going after their weaknesses,” said sophomore outside hitter Lexie Bradley. “We were kind of just pounding them and pounding them. Later in the match we started going after their deep corners which opened up the court a lot. That made us a lot more successful.”

The third set, which included eight lead changes, was another stressful one for the fans in Flowers Hall. The Lions and Chargers battled neck and neck until it was even at 22-22. At the end, two kills from Victoria Quintanilla and a kill by Natasha Fomina finished UAH off.

In the fourth and final set, the two rivals battled back and forth until UNA tied it up 25-25. An error by UAH and a kill by Fomina gave UNA the two points it needed to seal the win.

“That’s what happens when you have two teams with talented players,” Radecki said. “You could see how bad both teams wanted to win in their eyes, especially towards the end of sets. It was a hard one either way.”

Fomina led the Lions with 16 kills, followed by Austin with 13, Quintanilla with 12 and Bradley with 11.

Senior setter Andrea De Leon finished with a 53 assists.

The Lions will face Mississippi College in their home finale Nov. 6.