CARROLLTON, Ga. - The West Georgia Wolves opened the 2019 season on Friday afternoon, facing a storied program in the Harding Bison, falling 3-0 in both teams' season opener.
Harding came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, jumping out to a 6-1 lead early in the first set. The Wolves came back slowly, cutting the lead to 8-4 before the Bison pushed it back out to 13-7. Harding continued to pour on the pressure in the first set, eventually winning 25-17. The second set was similar to the first, as the Wolves hit .091 in the first two sets, falling 25-17 and falling behind 2-0 in the match.
In the third set, back-to-back kills from junior Hannah Flack and senior McKenna Wharton to open the set shifted the momentum for West Georgia. The Wolves used that momentum to build a 16-10 advantage in the set. The Bison mounted a comeback at that point, but West Georgia still led 24-22 at set point. Harding reeled off four consecutive points to win, 26-22, and take the match.
Tierra White led the Wolves with eight kills in the match, committing just two errors for a .300 hitting percentage in her first official collegiate match. Sophomore Emilee Harris led West Georgia with 10 digs on the day and Madi Fleming dished out 25 assists.
The Wolves will take on Alabama Huntsville tonight at 8 p.m. in the second match of the UAH Classic.
Game 2 - Alabama Huntsville 3, UWG 1
In the evening match, the West Georgia Wolves and Alabama Huntsville Chargers played to a draw for the first two sets, but UAH pulled away in the final two, taking a 3-1 victory.
The first set saw the Wolves build an early 16-10 lead over the homestanding Chargers. UAH came roaring back, though, forcing a back-and-forth set-point battle between the two teams. First, UAH served for set point at 27-26, then West Georgia picked up a pair of points to take back the lead at 28-27. The set ended on an ace from the Chargers at 31-29.
In the second set, UAH used that momentum from the opening set to build an early 15-10 lead. Flipping the script on the Chargers, West Georgia went on a 9-3 run to take a 19-18 lead. Several points later, with the set tied at 21-21, Carrington Terrell and Niah Bruce combined for a block that led to two consecutive points and the Wolves led 23-21. After UAH tied the set at 24-24, Terrell struck again to give West Georgia their first shot at set point. This time, the point went the way of the wolf, as UWG tied the match at 1-1 with the win.
Set three opened with Alabama Huntsville jumping out to an early advantage and never looking back as the Wolves fell 25-22. The final set was close for the first 12 points, but UAH outscored the Wolves 13-7 over the final 20 points, taking a 25-19 victory and the match.
White and McKenna Wharton each had 13 kills in the match, followed by JoJo Webb with 12 kills. Wharton added 10 digs for a double-double and Jaylen Daffin led the way with 12 digs in the match.
The Wolves will play twice on Saturday, taking on Trevecca Nazarene at 2 p.m. and Montevallo at 6 p.m. in the continuation of the 2019 UAH Classic.