Dezirae Mackey recorded a season-high 12 kills as University of Mount Olive defeated Virginia Union University 25-19, 25-20, 16-25, 25-20 in non-conference women's volleyball Wednesday at Pembroke, N.C. The win, part of a tri-match hosted by UNC Pembroke, snapped the Trojans' six-match losing skid.
The Trojans nearly made it a sweep after rallying from a seven-point deficit against UNC Pembroke in the fourth set to force a fifth set, but Mount Olive fell to the Braves 22-25, 26-24, 25-17, 25-27, 15-12 in the nightcap. Britni Johnson tallied a career-high 22 kills and Mackey had a career-high nine blocks.
After winning the opening set against UNC Pembroke, Mount Olive (6-18) dropped the next two sets and appeared on its way to a four-set loss, trailing 18-11 in the fourth set. After a timeout, Mount Olive rallied as kills by Johnson and Alysha Burnett ignited an 8-2 run to pull the Trojans within 20-19. Montgomery Register recorded a block and a kill for the final two points of the run.
UNC Pembroke (14-15) led 24-23 when Johnson saved a match point with a kill and gave Mount Olive its first set point with another kill. After a UNC Pembroke side out tied the set at 25-25, Johnson put the Trojans back on top with a kill and combined with Register on a block to send the match to a deciding fifth set.
Mount Olive used two aces by Aubrey McKinney to jump out to a 4-0 lead in the fifth set, but UNC Pembroke came back to tie the set 7-7. Johnson broke the tie with a kill and followed with an ace, but UNCP again rallied to tie. The two teams exchanged a series of side outs and the set was tied 12-12 after a solo block by Mackey and a double block by Mackey and Sarah Watkins. A pair of Trojan errors put UNC Pembroke back on top and the Braves sealed the win with a block on match point.
In the first set, Mount Olive built a 22-17 lead after a kill by Johnson and a block by Register and Watkins capped a 6-3 run. UNC Pembroke rallied for five unanswered points to tie the set, but Register responded with back-to-back kills to put the Trojans back on top. A UNCP attack error on set point gave Mount Olive the opening set.
The Trojans rallied from an early deficit in the second set and broke away and took a 23-20 lead after Johnson's kill capped a 3-0 run to break a 20-20 tie. Mount Olive led 24-22 after another kill by Johnson, but UNC Pembroke fought off two set points, then held serve for the final two points to even the match at a set apiece.
Mount Olive trailed only 16-14 in the third set before UNC Pembroke broke the set open with a 6-0 run.
The Trojans matched a season high with 17.0 team blocks as Register tallied six blocks and Watkins added five blocks. Register also had 10 kills for the Trojans. McKinney finished with four aces, 10 digs and 32 assists, while Samantha Winfield had 22 assists in Mount Olive's 6-2 offense. Johnson added 17 digs to record her second double-double of the night and seventh of the season.
In the first set against Virginia Union, Mount Olive used McKinney's service run and a series of attack errors to score six unanswered points and take the lead for good at 15-11. Virginia Union pulled within a point, but Alysha Burnett had a pair of kills in a set-ending 6-1 run to give the Trojans the first set.
The Trojans never trailed in the second set, but saw a four-point lead disappear after Virginia Union rallied to even the set. Mackey's kill broke a 15-15 tie and Mount Olive led the rest of the way. Back-to-back aces by Winfield gave Mount Olive its biggest lead at 22-16 and Mackey recorded a kill on set point to give the Trojans a two-set lead.
Virginia Union (9-14) led from the start in the third set as four Trojan errors helped stake the Panthers to a 5-0 lead. Mount Olive pulled within 16-13, but Virginia Union outscored the Trojans 9-3 to stay in the match.
The fourth set belonged to Mount Olive as Mackey and Johnson had two kills apiece to spark a 10-1 run to open the set. Virginia Union got as close as three points, but a pair of kills by Johnson and a block by Ellen Morgan and Montgomery Register halted the Panthers' rally. Johnson sealed the win with her 11th kill of the night on match point.
Johnson finished with a team-high 17 digs, while Burnett and Barnes added 15 digs apiece for the Trojans. Register recorded a match-high seven blocks and joined Winfield with two aces, also back-to-back. Morgan added five blocks. UMO setters McKinney (20 assists) and Winfield (18 assists) combined for 38 of Mount Olive's 41 assists.
After playing six consecutive away contests, the Trojans are at home this weekend for a pair of Conference Carolinas matches at Kornegay Arena. Mount Olive plays host to Pfeiffer Friday at 7 p.m. and Belmont Abbey Saturday at 2 p.m.