Volleyball notches five-set victory over SJSU

Lorin Thomas (courtesy of Will Bratton)
Lorin Thomas (courtesy of Will Bratton)

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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Facing match point, 24-23, in the fourth set, Campbell scored three-straight points and went on to pick up a 3-2 (25-15, 22-25, 22-25, 26-24, 15-12) victory over San Jose State on Saturday night.

"It was a crazy match that went back and forth," said first-year head coach Greg Goral. "I really like the way we battled tonight. After taking the fourth game, we were able to regroup and show the poise to win game five. It was a big step for this team."

The Spartans (0-3) held a 10-8 advantage in the fifth frame before the Camels knotted the contest with a pair of kills by sophomores outside Jessica Groen (Las Cruces, N.C.) and middle blocker Lorin Thomas (Raleigh, N.C.). A trio of kills by Groen, sophomore outsides Alexis Hein (Murrieta, Calif.) and Katelyn Layden (Chapel Hill, N.C.) sealed the match for Campbell as the Goral era opened with a 2-1 mark.

Five Camels hit double figures in kills and digs, while sophomore libero Mary Crema (Loveland, Ohio) registered a personal-best 31 digs. Campbell finished second at the William & Mary Tribe Invitational and the pair of Thomas and Crema received all-tournament honors.

"I give the energy award to Lorin [Thomas] because she knows when we need an extra boost," said coach Goral. "Mary [Crema] was outstanding with 25 and 31 digs today. She has solidified our defense. Everybody contributed and helped us win this match.

Double-doubles were contributed by Groen (17 kills/12 digs), Layden (10 kills/19 digs), Hein (12 kills/16 digs) and senior setter Heather Wilson (Concord, N.C.) (42 assists/20 digs). The Camels offense became stronger as the match progressed, registering 16 kills in the fourth set and a .360 attacking pct. with 11 spikes in the finale.

Senior middle blocker Lindsey Coats (Dunn, N.C.) and Thomas each posted 10 kills. Six blocks were contributed by Thomas as the Camels led that category, 12 to 9.5.

Campbell hit 112 in the dig count, eclipsing the 100-dig plateau for the second-straight contest. The team's .208 attack pct. was a season best as 63 kills were tallied on just 21 mistakes.

San Jose State was paced by Lauren Jacobsen, who totaled 17 kills and 12 digs. Hannah Blume registered a match-high 35 digs. A 51-assists performance was provided by Michaela Leonard.

SJSU started the first set with a 5-3 advantage before the service of Groen and Coats began an 8-2 run that placed the Camels ahead 11-6. Back-to-back kills from Groen and Layden stretched the Campbell lead to 22-15. Thomas ended the frame by finding the floor, 25-18.

The momentum for the Camels continued into the second set as Layden notched a kill early, 5-1. The Spartans then rallied to take the lead 9-7 on the service of Sarah Griest.  The pressure by SJSU continued as a 6-1 run helped it close out the set, 25-22.

During the third frame, Six ties and two lead changes were registered by the two teams before a five-point rally put the Spartans up 12-7. The Camels knotted the frame up at 21-all following a pair of kills by Groen. SJSU scored on four of the next five rallied to take a 2-1 lead in the match, 25-22.

The Camels travel to Elon on Tuesday with the first serve set for 7 p.m. Live stats and video are available on the volleyball schedule page of GoCamels.com, while in-game updates can be accessed by following @GoCamelsVB Twitter.

Campbell opens the home slate on Friday against N.C. Central at 3 p.m. and Indiana State at 8 p.m. as a part of the Hampton Inn of Holly Springs Invitational. Georgetown completes the event for Campbell the following afternoon at 1:30 p.m.