College Sports

Sitzmann, Toepke lead Eagles past Gardner-Webb

The Winthrop volleyball team used a 16-kill performance from middle hitter Shannon Sitzmann and cruised through Gardner-Webb by the scores of 30-28, 30-24, 30-15 Tuesday at the Winthrop Coliseum.

The win moved the Eagles up to 17-10 on the year, while the Bulldogs fell to 14-17 with the loss.

Sitzmann also led all players on the court in hitting percentage with a .577 mark. Outside hitter Tara Toepke recorded 12 kills, while middle hitter Sara Felts hit .400 with seven kills.

Setter Kelsey Hall posted 44 assists to control the offense, while Kellie Sellers had a match-high 15 kills. Libero Pohai Nu'uhiwa, Toepke, who picked up a double-double, and defensive specialist Kelli Kirkwood, were the other Eagles in double figures for digs.

Winthrop also had a strong offense coming from the service as it recorded 10 aces as a team with Toepke and Sellers leading the way with three apiece.

After a tight 30-28 in game one, the Eagles bounced back to hit .371 in game two and closed out the match winning game three by a 15-point margin.

"For us, our middle-attack was very effective and that's something that we're working on in practice. But really, we need to get all cylinders firing and working to execute from point one to the last point of the match and we had some breakdowns today," said Winthrop coach Sally Polhamus. "We are happy with the 'W,' but still need to focus on our systems.

"In game three, we started to play to the potential that we have, from the service line and in transition and really the whole game we were able to execute and that's what we mean by consistency. We need to play like that in games one and two also finish with game three like that, but we're still high and low and there's no consistency."

For Gardner-Webb, Carrie Long and Heidi Steinebrunner had eight kills apiece to top the offense, while Katie Matykowski was the only Bulldog in double digits for digs with 11.

The Eagles will play in their last match before the Big South tournament as they travel to High Point for a match at 2 p.m. on Saturday.