AIKEN, S.C.– Twentieth ranked Wingate won its 55th consecutive regular season match, sweeping the Sharks of Nova Southeastern on Day 1 of the 2012 USC Aiken Invitational. The Bulldogs won by scores of 25-20, 25-18 and 25-14 to improve to 5-0 overall. The Sharks fall to 1-4 on the season, falling to a ranked team for the third time this year.
Outside hitter Cory McGowan had eight kills, nine digs, four blocks and three aces to lead Wingate’s attack, hitting .471 on the match. Right-side hitter Anna Hilton added eight kills and two blocks, while middle blocker Grace Krauser had six kills and a .333 hitting percentage.
Setter Alison Cooke had 18 assists and eight digs, while setter Iris Brewer handed out 17 assists. Libero Rianne Lang had 11 digs in two sets of action.
“Nova Southeastern is a well-coached team with some big strong athletes, so this was a very good win for us,” head coach Shelton Collier said. “I was pleased with our comeback in Game 1, and I was pleased how well we responded when Susie Murach went out with her injury in Game 2. We are looking forward to three more big matches this weekend.”
Sydney Cook had eight kills to lead the Nova Southeastern attack. Danielle Graham added seven kills, while Caitlin Donahue had five kills for the Sharks. Jordan Pappas handed out 25 assists, while Sarah Shifflett had eight digs.
The Sharks led throughout most of the opening set, taking a 15-11 lead on a Wingate error. A kill from Dana Holger put Nova on top 17-12, while another Bulldog error made it 18-13. Wingate answered with a 4-0 run to cut the lead to one. McGowan had three kills in the flurry, while sophomore outside hitter Susie Murach added a kill.
A kill from Cook put the Sharks on top by two at 19-17, but an error, followed by another McGowan kill tied it at 19. Another Wingate error gave the Sharks a one-point lead at 20-19, but the Bulldogs responded by scoring the final six points of the set. McGowan’s ace put Wingate on top 21-20, while another ace made it 23-20. An NSU error made it 24-20, while freshman outside hitter Shelly Stumpff capped it with a kill.
The Bulldogs used a 6-0 run in the second set to take a 16-7 lead. Freshman middle blocker Lexi Potter started it with a kill, while a pair of kills from freshman outside hitter Hannah Huffman capped the flurry. A pair of Hilton kills gave Wingate a 20-11 lead. An ace from Stumpff put Wingate on top 24-14, while Huffman capped the second set with a kill. The Bulldogs hit .346 in the second frame.
A pair of McGowan kills put Wingate on top 12-7 in the third set. The Sharks trimmed the lead to three on an ace from Melanie Garcia. The Bulldogs scored the next four points to push the lead to seven. Krauser had two kills in the spurt, while Hilton added a kill. A 5-0 Wingate run put Wingate on top 23-13. Huffman had a kill and two aces in the spurt. Potter made it 24-14 with a kill, while McGowan finished the match with her eighth kill of the day. The Bulldogs hit .419 in the final set.
Wingate hit .326 for the match, with 40 kills and 11 errors in 89 attacks. The Sharks hit .084 with 29 kills and 20 errors in 107 attacks. The Bulldogs had nine aces on the day, led by McGowan’s three. McGowan also led the way with her four blocks, while Potter chipped in with three.