Mocs Volleyball Win Chattanooga Classic Title

Sunday, September 15, 2019
The Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team earned its second-straight Chattanooga Classic title after rallying to defeat Manhattan, 3-2 (22-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 15-12), in Saturday's opener before sweeping North Alabama in straight sets, 3-0 (25-15, 25-13, 25-22), on the campus of Cleveland High School.
 
Following the pair of wins, Chattanooga has won its last three to even its 2019 record to 5-5. The Mocs finished with a spotless 3-0 record in the Classic for the second-straight year and have combined for a 15-3 record with three titles since 2014.
 
Junior setter Maddie Halsey was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after totaling 123 assists (10.20 per set), 14 kills (.481%) and 27 digs (2.25 per set) on the weekend.
She posted a career-high 47 assists against Tennessee Tech in addition to a 44 assist, eight kill performance against Manhattan and a 32 assist, 14 dig double-double match in the finale against North Alabama.
 
Junior classmates DS/L Megan Kaufman and OH Gylian finch joined Halsey on the All-Tournament team following stellar performances. Kaufman posted three double-digit dig matches (14, 13 and 10) while picking up a career-high five aces in Saturday night's win over UNA. Finch recorded 35 kills (2.92 per set) on a .186% in addition to totaling 31 digs (2.58 per set) and eight service aces in just 12 sets.
 
Chattanooga saw a slow start to the Saturday afternoon match pick up in intensity as the sets rolled on. Manhattan raced out to a 10-4 lead in the opening set, forcing the tournament hosts to call for timeout. UTC responded with an 8-2 run to take a 14-12 lead past the halfway mark.
 
The teams evened up at 18-18 before the Jaspers scored seven of the set's final ten points to claim a 25-22 set victory and a 1-0 lead in the match.
 
Manhattan kept momentum and opened the second set with 10 of the first 11 points to build a sizeable 10-1 lead. UTC climbed right back to pull within three at 15-12 before lessening it at 24-22, but ultimately dropped a 25-22 decision to find themselves down 2-0 in the match.
 
With their backs against the wall, Chattanooga took a commanding 15-6 lead in the third and never looked back. The lead never dipped below five points in route to a 25-17 win, allowing the match to continue into a fourth set.
 
UTC scored 10 of the first 15 points in the fourth to create momentum, but a quick Manhattan answer saw the five-point lead transform into a one-point deficit, 18-17. Down 23-22, the Mocs grinded out three-straight points, capped off by a Megan Kaufman ace, to force a deciding fifth set for the first time this season.
 
Ten ties and three lead changes allowed for a deadlock 10-10 tally before a MC attacking error and kills from Dani Szczepanski and Brianna Anderson gave Chattanooga slight breathing room, 13-11. Bailey Bennett and Szczepanski scored the final two points via an ace and kill, respectfully, to complete the comeback, 15-12.
 
Matching up against North Alabama with the Chattanooga Classic title on the line for the second-straight year, Chattanooga wasted no time in putting forth a championship-type effort.
 
Seeing a five-point lead dwindle to one at 13-12 in the opening set, UTC rattled off eight-straight points to create a sizable 20-12 advantage before closing out the opening set with five of the final eight tallies to earn a 25-15 set win.
 
Leading 10-8 in the second set, Chattanooga once against used a long run, this time by a 15-5 count, to pull away from the Lions. The 25-13 set win was the second-largest point differential for UTC this season.
 
UNA raced out to a 9-4 lead in the third set to show that things weren't quite over in the title match. Chattanooga clapped back with 12 of the next 16 to gain a three-point lead at 16-13. The Lions tied things up at 18-18 before UTC closed out its tournament-winning weekend with seven of the final 11 to clinch the match sweep behind a 25-22 set score.

Chattanooga (5-5) travels to Blacksburg, Va., next weekend for the Virginia Tech Invitational (Sept. 20-21) inside the ACC-member's Cassell Coliseum. UTC will face the likes of VT, Charlotte and Arkansas State.

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