WINGATE, N.C. — The Wingate University Bulldogs overcame a slow start Friday night, rallying for a 3-1 victory over visiting North Greenville University in NCAA Division II volleyball action in Cuddy Arena. Wingate won by scores of 23-25, 25-14, 25-7 and 25-18 to improve to 6-0 on the year, while the Crusaders fall to 3-4 overall. The victory is number 1,000 of head coach Shelton Collier's career, only the ninth coach in the history of NCAA volleyball to reach the thousand-win plateau.
The nine-time SAC Coach of the Year, Collier is a six-time NCAA Southeast Region Coach of the Year, while earning AVCA National Coach of the Year honors in 2013. Prior to his time at Wingate, he was the Big 10 Coach of the Year at Pittsburgh and ACC Coach of the Year at Georgia Tech. Collier ranks ninth in all of NCAA volleyball in wins and is fifth among active coaches.
Senior outside hitter Katie Bludau had 16 kills, four digs and three aces to lead the Wingate offense, hitting .387 for the match. Junior middle blocker Anna Holmquist (Lincoln, Nebr.) notched a double-double with 12 kills and 10 blocks, hitting .600 on the night while junior outside hitter Oakley Attaway hit .310 with 10 kills. Freshman Anne Abernathy added nine kills and 10 blocks, hitting .471, while sophomore middle blocker Phoebe Havenaar had seven kills and four blocks. Prior to Friday night, the last Bulldog with 10 blocks was All-American Lexi Potter in the 2013 regional title match against Armstrong. Sophomore setter Rachel Alles had 46 assists, 15 digs, three blocks and two kills, while junior libero Kori Adams collected 21 digs and three aces.
"We are appreciative that we could arrange a competitive match at home in place of not being able to play in the Flagler Tournament this weekend," Collier says. "It was great that we could compete and make some progress tonight and we are pleased that we had some strong performances."
Kills from Samantha Hebb and Katie McManaway gave North Greenville a 14-9 lead in set one, but an Attaway kill and a block from Holmquist and Abernathy made it 15-14. Kenzie Pierce's kill put the Crusaders on top 20-17, while back-to-back Wingate errors made it 24-20. A Havenaar kill and Abernathy block got the 'Dogs within a point at 24-23, but a kill from McManaway ended the set.
Wingate raced out to a 13-4 lead in the second set. Bludau had five kills in the early flurry, while Holmquist and Abernathy each contributed a pair of blocks in the spurt. Kills from Attaway and Holmquist made it 17-8, while a block and a kill from Abernathy put the 'Dogs on top 23-12. Havenaar's kill made it 24-14, while a block from Holmquist and Abernathy ended the set. Wingate hit .500 in set two, with 14 kills and three errors in 22 swings, while NGU hit .037.
The strong serving of Adams sparked an 11-0 run in the third set, giving Wingate a 16-3 lead. Holmquist had three kills and two blocks in the spurt, while Adams added three aces. A kill from Attaway, along with a block and a kill from Holmquist made it 19-5, while a kill and a block from Bludau put the Bulldogs on top 24-7. Another Bludau kill ended the set, giving Wingate a 2-1 advantage. Wingate hit .524 in set three, with 13 kills and two errors in 21 swings. NGU had four kills and seven errors, hitting -.130.
MORE: Rankings for Division II women's volleyball
A Bludau kill and Holmquist ace gave the Bulldogs an 11-5 lead in set four, but an ace from Hebb got the Crusaders within two at 12-10. Two kills and two blocks from Abernathy extended the Wingate lead to 19-11, while kills from Attaway and Holmquist, along with another Holmquist block made it 22-13. Kills from Bludau and Havenaar gave Wingate a 24-17 lead, while Havenaar's kill ended the match.
Wingate hit .339 on the night, with 56 kills and 13 errors in 127 attacks. North Greenville had 38 kills and 23 errors in 136 attacks, hitting .110. Adams and Bludau each had three aces, with Wingate collecting 10 on the night. Abernathy and Holmquist led the way with 10 blocks apiece, while Havenaar contributed four blocks.
Wingate is back in action Tuesday, Sept. 12, hosting Newberry at 7 p.m. the Bulldogs host Anderson next Friday at 7 p.m.