FLORENCE – The University of North Alabama volleyball team rallied from an 0-2 deficit to stun No. 23 West Florida with a 3-2 victory Friday evening at Flowers Hall.
The five-set match marked the eighth time the Lions have come back to win from an 0-2 hole in the last seven seasons. Common opponents seem to be the trend when UNA rallies from two sets down. Truman State, Harding and West Florida have each fell victim twice. The Lions have also rallied to defeat West Georgia and Emory. North Alabama also came back from an 0-2 deficit to down West Florida in the regular season a year ago on the Argonauts home floor.
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FLORENCE – Less than 24 hours after rallying from an 0-2 deficit to pick up a huge Gulf South Conference victory, the fortunes for the North Alabama volleyball team reversed. After losing the first two sets, Valdosta State came back to post three straight wins and hand UNA a 3-2 loss Saturday afternoon at Flowers Hall. The win by the Blazers creates a three-way tie for first place in the GSC East Division with UNA, VSU and West Florida each claiming 4-1 conference records.
On Saturday, the script was similar to the night before, when the Lions rallied from two sets down to knock off UWF at home. This time, however, it was UNA with the 2-0 lead in the match and a 23-19 lead in the third set. The Blazers were able to stay alive by closing the game with six straight points to claim a 25-23 win.
Valdosta State kept momentum in the fourth set and tied the match with a 25-18 victory. In the final set, the Blazers jumped out to a 7-3 lead before UNA answered. UNA closed the game to 14-13 before match ended on a service error by the Lions.
Three different players posted double-doubles for North Alabama, while four reached double figures in kills. Natalie Marsh (14 kills, 19 digs), Sarah Roberts (13 kills, 15 digs) and Hope Rayburn (59 assists, 10 digs) each picked up double-doubles.
Hristina Markova had a season-high 16 kills and hit .333 for the match while Emily Callaway added a career-best 14 kills for the Lions.
Defensively, five players reached double figures in digs and UNA produced 10 total team blocks. Lauren Greenhill (17 digs) and Brigid O’Brien (12 digs) also reached double digits in the category.
North Alabama will not return home until Nov. 5 against West Alabama. Before that, the Lions will eight matches on the road or a neutral court. UNA will travel to Lakeland, Fla., next weekend for three matches at the Florida Southern Regional Crossover.