The Chattanooga volleyball team goes back to work Tuesday night as the Mocs travel to Music City to take on the Belmont Bruins of the Ohio Valley Conference. Both teams are coming off four-match tournaments going into the matchup in Nashville, Tenn.
Chattanooga enters the in-state competition at 0-7 on the year in search of its first win of 2013. A couple of close matches over the weekend – 3-2 vs. UT Martin and 3-2 vs. Charlotte – had Head Coach Travis Filar’s squad within reach of two wins, but UTC ran out of juice and ended the weekend at the Country Inns & Suites Invitational in Chattanooga with an 0-4 record.
Freshman Allie Davenport (Tyrone, Ga.) enters the match against Belmont as the team’s leader in kills with 74. The standout freshman is averaging 2.55 kills per set and has appeared in all seven matches this season. Stellar on defense as well, Davenport has recorded 59 digs and 11 blocks.
Sophomore Sarah Batterton (Colbert, Wash.) and junior Kasey Talley (Boiling Springs, S.C.) are two of the Mocs leading scorers as well as blockers, along with freshman Kendall Sexton (Orlando, Fla.) and Briana Reid (Houston, Texas). All totaling double-digit blocks and Talley’s 22 blocks on the season has Filar happy with his team’s defense.
“Blocking was something we really needed to improve on,” Filar said. “We have looked alright at blocking this season but we really stepped it up over the weekend. I was very happy with our team’s aggression at the net.”
Reid, along with her 16 blocks, is showing success in a different role for the Mocs, moving from her usual spot at outside hitter to a setter’s position. Since the move, Reid ranks second on the team with 83 digs and third with 47 kills while starting libero Catherine Chason (Alpharetta, Ga.) leads the Mocs with 134 digs.
Chattanooga searches for its first win against a 2-6 Bruins team that is coming off a 1-3 weekend in DeKalb, Ill., at the Wildcat Classic. Belmont suffered losses to Boise State, Northwestern and Northern Illinois while taking a 3-2 win over Columbia.
Freshman Jessica Vestal commands the Bruin offense with 117 kills on the season with a 3.55 kills per set average. Vestal also averages 1.67 digs per set with 55 on the season.
The defense is led by libero Jamie Lundstrom, averaging 4.12 digs per set and garnering 136 digs on the season. The senior has 23 assists, second to setter Hannah Miranda with 314.
The Bruins are coached by Deane Webb who is entering his 11th season at Belmont. The Bruins are coming off their first OVC Tournament Championship since joining the league in July 2012. Before then, Webb steered Belmont to a fifth consecutive 20-win season, an Atlantic Sun title and an NCAA tournament appearance in 2008.
Chattanooga continues its season Friday as the Mocs travel to Miami, Fla., for the Florida International Invitational. With two matches Friday and one on Sunday, UTC takes on FIU, Jacksonville and South Dakota State.