CARROLLTON, Ga. - Last weekend, McKenna Wharton served her way into second place all-time at West Georgia in single-season service aces. This week, her serve along with a powerful attack game helped to power the West Georgia Wolves past the Union Bulldogs 3-1 in a huge Gulf South Conference battle in Jackson, Tennessee.
Wharton had 20 kills and seven service aces Friday evening against the Bulldogs, as she and freshman middle Tierra White outdueled Union phenom Meghan Delaney. White and Wharton combined for 37 kills in the match while Delaney accounted for 28 kills. The match was one of the biggest to date in 2019 for both programs, as the two teams came into the night tied with Alabama Huntsville for second place in the GSC standings with all three sitting at 6-1. With the win, West Georgia moves to 13-9 overall on the year and 7-1 against league opponents while Union falls to 14-9 overall and 6-2 in the conference.
First Set - Union 25, West Georgia 23
West Georgia came out swinging, building an early 5-2 lead, but the Bulldogs fired right back with an 8-2 run to take a 10-6 lead and win the first race to 10. Union kept the pressure on, leading by as many as six points in the opening set. With Union on set point at 24-19, the Wolves scored three consecutive points to cut the lead to 24-22 and forcing a Bulldog timeout. The Wolves picked up one more point out of the timeout
Second Set - West Georgia 29, Union 27
In the second set, the Wolves built a three-point lead and kept it there for the bulk of the set. The Wolves won the first race to 10 at 10-5, then took a 21-18 lead on a big kill from Carrington Terrell. Through that point in the set, the Wolves hit .400 as opposed to just .157 in the opening set, as the Bulldogs called timeout to regroup. Out of the break, Union picked up two consecutive points, forcing UWG head coach Jon Moseley to call a timeout to rally his troops. A pair of points from Union out of that second timeout gave the Bulldogs a 22-21 lead after four straight points. A block from Terrell stopped the run and tied the set at 22-22. That started a 3-1 run that put the Wolves on set point with a 24-23 advantage. Union responded with two straight points before back-to-back kills from Tierra White put the Wolves up 26-25. Union came right back with two points before a kill from White tied the set again at 27. McKenna Wharton then delivered her fourth ace of the match and a back-row kill to give the Wolves a thrilling 29-25 victory.
Third Set - West Georgia 25, Union 19
In a similar fashion to the Wolves in the first set, this one was much closer than it started out. West Georgia, riding the momentum of a thrilling victory in the second set, came out on fire in the third. UWG built a 15-5 lead and extended that to 20-8 with only five points needed to take a 2-1 lead. But Delaney and the Bulldogs came roaring back, cutting the advantage to 24-19 before the Wolves put it away with the final point to take that 2-1 lead in the match.
Fourth Set - West Georgia 33, Union 31
The final set was an epic battle between two teams who had no desire to allow the opponent an inch. Union won the race to 10, taking a slim 10-8 lead, but the Wolves came firing right back. The see-saw battle rolled back-and-forth, with West Georgia on match point five different times before the Wolves closed it out with the 33rd and final point of the evening.
Four different Wolves had double-digit kills on the night, led by Wharton's 20. White followed that with 17 kills and just behind White was Webb with 16. Carrington Terrell was the final UWG player in double-digits with 12 kills in the match. Madi Fleming led the way for the offense to hit .293 on the night, dishing out 56 assists. Emilee Harris ran the back line with 19 digs and Wharton added 12 digs for the cause as well. White and Autumn Burnette teamed up for five blocks each in the match and Terrell added two for good measure.
The Wolves will be back in action on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m., taking on the Christian Brothers Buccaneers in Memphis, Tenn.