Lions knock off Shorter in straight sets

The UNA volleyball team collected its eighth consecutive win Friday night, defeating a persistent Shorter squad 3-0 at home.

While the Lions were able to pull off the win in straight sets, the match was much closer than the score suggests.

“Shorter is a good team and they have some great leaders,” said head coach Stephanie Radecki. “They came back hard in every set. Every time we got a lead they closed the gap.”

Much of the match was played point-to-point. The Lions took the first two sets 25-23 and 25-21 respectively, but the third set was a true battle.

In the final set, UNA jumped out to an 18-12 and appeared to be in control. However, a Shorter timeout allowed the Hawks to regroup. With the help of a few UNA attack errors, Shorter began to rally. The Hawks were able to cut the score to 19-17 before UNA called a timeout.

“When a team gains momentum like that, it’s kind of hard to stop them,” said junior outside hitter Natasha Fomina, who led the team with 14 kills. “I think this year our team has been good at not giving up and pushing until the very last second.”

The Lions rebounded and were leading 24-20, one point from winning the set, before the Hawks surged back again. A few minutes later, a kill by BreAnna Thompson gave the Hawks the 27-26 lead, their first of the set.

The Lions and Hawks played the next seven points wire-to-wire, but an error by Shorter and a service ace by senior setter Andrea De Leon gave UNA the 31-29 lead and the final two points it needed to complete the sweep.

Radecki credits an improved defense for the tough conference win.

“I think the big key tonight was Ashtyn (Kapovich) and our defense,” she said. “Andrea (De Leon) made some huge digs late and our defense really stepped up. That’s the one thing we’ve really needed to improve on.”

Kapovich recorded 26 digs. De Leon finished with 39 assists and 12 digs.

With the win, UNA improves to 8-2 overall and 2-0 in the GSC. The Lions take on the Lee Flames Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. at home.