CHARLESTON, S.C. — Junior Kaelyn Dyson (Holly Springs, N.C.) paced Gardner-Webb with 12 kills, and Amanda Sahm (Marion, Iowa) added her second double-double of the day with 26 assists and 13 digs as the Runnin' Bulldogs fell to Morehead State, 3-1, in the final match of the night at The Citadel's Bulldog Battle Friday evening.
"We ran into a quality program bouncing back from a tough loss," said head coach Leo Sayles. "We had matchup problems early that kept us from pulling ahead. They were a good serving team and also a good hitting team, and they kept us off balance. Kaelyn Dyson gave us some power and Keira Moore gave us a solid effort off the bench. We must do a better job receiving so that we can allow our offense to function as well as it did in our first match."
Morehead State (1-1) won the match by scores of 25-22, 25-18, 18-25 and 25-14, and held Gardner-Webb (1-1) to 44 kills and a .110 hitting percentage on the night. The Eagles totaled 79 digs, 55 kills and seven blocks while Gardner-Webb tallied 67 digs and eight stuffs in the contest.
Dyson led the way for Gardner-Webb with 12 kills to push her day's total to 22, as Nicole Celarek (Bensenville, Ill.) and Taylor Lillard (Victorville, Calif.) added nine and eight smashes, respectively. Emma Milstead (Knoxville, Tenn.) posted 15 digs as Sahm chipped in 26 assists and 13 digs. Jene Lee (San Dimas, Calif.) tallied seven kills and five blocks in the match.
Merideth Jewell paced the Eagles with 18 kills and 12 digs to account for a double-double, while Sydney Schuler and Jessie Wachtman tallied 14 and 11 kills, respectively. Bailey Nichol recorded 44 assists, 17 digs and three blocks on the night.
Gardner-Webb jumped out to an early 5-1 lead in the first set before Morehead State responded, stringing together a 9-5 spurt to even the tally at 10-10. After the Runnin' Bulldogs countered with six of the next 10 points to take a 16-14 edge, the Eagles answered with a six straight to open a 20-16 advantage on a smash from Wachtman. Gardner-Webb fought back with three points and would later hold off set point at 24-22, before Morehead State claimed the set on a kill by Jordan Jones.
The second proved to be a tightly contested affair in the early going, with Gardner-Webb trimming the margin to 12-10 on back-to-back smashes from Lillard and Lee, before the Eagles answered with a 10-2 surge to open a 22-12 advantage following a pair of Jewell kills. Morehead State closed out the frame with a Jewell smash moments later after Gardner-Webb fought off a pair of set points at 24-17 and 24-18.
The Runnin' Bulldogs bounced back with a much improved third set, opening the frame with a 9-4 run before pushing the advantage to 15-9 on a smash from Keira Moore (Spartanburg, S.C.). The Eagles quickly answered with seven of the next 12 points, closing the gap to 20-16 on a GWU miscue before Gardner-Webb countered with a 5-2 spurt to cap the set, and trim the margin to 25-18 following a solo stuff from Hannah Driscoll (Lake Mary, Fla.).
Morehead State responded with a superb display in the fourth, kicking off the set with a 10-3 run before surging to a 20-8 lead on the heels of a 7-3 spurt. The Runnin' Bulldogs would fight off a trio of match points moments later - including an ace from Sahm and a pair of kills from Moore and Celarek - before the Eagles capped the set and the match with a smash from Schuler.
Gardner-Webb will finish out the weekend at the Bulldog Battle with a 1:00 pm match against host The Citadel on Saturday afternoon. The match will be streamed live on ESPN3.