ROCK HILL — The Winthrop volleyball team picked a four-set victory Saturday evening over The Citadel Bulldogs after falling in a four-set match to the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks on the final day of the Winthrop Invitational.
“Point by point, set by set and match by match, this weekend has been a huge rollercoaster for us,” head coach Bruce Atkinson said. “We must get consistent with what we can control on our side of the net. Until we are able to do that, every match will be a coin toss for us.
The Citadel (3-11) and Winthrop (10-4) were dead even through the first 20 points of the opening set. The Bulldogs went on a quick 6-2 run to take a 16-12 advantage. Winthrop then went on a run of its own, 9-2 to go up 21-18, forcing a Bulldog timeout. Out of the break The Citadel picked up a few points but couldn’t keep the Eagles from winning the first set 25-22.
The second set was a game of runs. After Winthrop opened the set with a 5-4 edge, the Bulldogs came back with a 5-1 run to take a 9-6 advantage forcing Winthrop to take a timeout. The two teams traded points after the break and The Citadel continued to lead 15-11 before the Eagles went on a big 9-2 run to take a 20-17 lead, forcing the Bulldogs to take a timeout. The Citadel responded with a 7-3 run to close out the set, winning 25-23 and evening the match 1-1.
Winthrop came out much stronger offensively in the third set, hitting .355 with 16 kills and only five errors. The Eagles led from the first point and closed the set on a 10-2 run to with 25-14. Winthrop won the fourth set 25-23.
After a Bulldog timeout, The Citadel staved off the loss only briefly as the Eagles won 25-23.
Alina Sopizhuk recorded 20 kills against the Bulldogs while Rachel Lenz and Irene Ojukwu each tallied 12 kills. Jessie Vicic finished with a double-double with 53 assists and 14 digs.
Against UNC-Wilmington, Irene Ojukwu led all hitters with 17 kills. Alina Sopizhuk and Rachel Lenz each tallied 10 kills. Sopizhuk recorded a double-double with 10 digs. Jessie Vicic just missed a double-double with 50 assists and nine digs.
Winthrop will open conference play next Friday at home against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at 7 p.m.