CHARLESTON, South Carolina – Despite three double-doubles from Alyssa Desjardins, Morgan Kline and Nicole Lott, UNCW was unable to hold off defending Colonial Athletic Association champion College of Charleston, losing 3-2 in the semifinals of the conference tournament on Saturday at the Johnson Center.
The Cougars (23-9) advance to the championship match on Sunday where they'll look to defend their title against Hofstra, who swept James Madison in the other semifinal match on Saturday. UNCW concludes its season with a 21-11 record after falling in the semifinals for the second straight season.
“This was probably one of the best matches I've ever been a part of because our team played with so much grit, passion and belief,” said UNCW Head Coach Amy Bambenek. “Offensively and defensively our entire team stepped up. To end the season knowing we gave it our all is all I can ask of our players.”
Desjardins set a career high with 57 assists and 23 digs while posting her eighth double-double of the season. Kline added a career-high 21 kills and a season-high 21 digs for her team-leading 10th double-double of the season. Lott rounded out the impressive UNCW effort with her sixth double-double with 15 kills and 19 digs.
The Seahawks took a 2-0 lead at the break by outhitting the Cougars, .242-.081, as Kline and Lott combined for 21 kills in the two sets. Lott had seven kills in the second set alone.
CofC rallied with a win in the third set by hitting .271 and won the fourth set, 26-24, after seeing the score tied on 11 occasions.
In the fifth and deciding set, CofC broke a 12-all deadlock on a kill from Cara Howley that started a 3-0 run to end the set and match.
Melissa Morello held match-high honors with 24 kills and rounded out a double-double with 15 digs. Sloane White also had a double-double with 13 kills and 15 digs.
Andi Zbojniewicz collected a match-high 28 digs, but UNCW, led by Desjardins and Morgan Owney with 23 digs each, held a 108-106 advantage in digs.
Notes: Led by Sarah Kelly's career-high nine blocks, UNCW recorded 16 blocks for the third time this season … Kristen Powell added a career-high eight blocks and 13 kills … After seeing sweeps by each team during the regular season, the team played their first five-set match against each other since 2011 … Morgan Owney's 23 digs gave her 78 for her last four matches (4.3/set) … Morgan Kline concluded her career with 1,046 kills and 996 digs … Kline finished sixth all-time at UNCW in kills and 10th in digs.