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Comeback Falls Just Shy in Volleyball’s Five-Set Loss to Golden Eagles

October 14th, 2023 by WCBC Radio

 The Frostburg State Volleyball team came up just short in their bid to pull off a comeback victory against Charleston (WV) on Friday night, falling 3-2.
After the Golden Eagles took the first two points of the first set, FSU hit back with kills from seniors Hayley Delor, McKaily Thomson-Moran, and Beverly Braun and junior AJ Thompson, with the latter two also combining on a block to take a 6-4 lead. The Bobcats' momentum kept going with five scores in a row, started by a Thomson-Moran solo block, a kill and pair of aces from Braun, and another kill by sophomore Amanda Knieper to grow the advantage to 11-5. A Charleston timeout completely turned the tide of the set, as the visitors took 10 of the next 11 points to go ahead 15-12. Each team traded a couple of three-point rallies, with FSU able to tie the match at 18-18 after back-to-back kills by Thompson and Braun. UC would not let the set slip away from them, as they took seven of the last ten points to win 25-22.
Their momentum continued into the second set, racing ahead 7-2 on six kills. Braun helped keep Frostburg in the set with a trio of scores, then Knieper and Delor both knocked down kills to tie things 7-7. The Bobcats took the lead after a Thomson-Moran kills and a pair of sharp serves by freshman Alyssa Stanton, but another Golden Eagle scoring run put them back ahead 14-10. Once more, the Bobcats showed their mettle, as kills from Thompson, Thomson-Moran, Knieper, Braun, senior Katie Keech, and freshman Maddie Lewis helped regain a 20-19 lead. The teams went back-and-forth in a closely-contested affair, as Thompson knocked in a pair of kills with the set in the balance at 23-23, but back-to-back UC scores gave them the 25-23 victory.
Charleston looked to complete their sweep in the outset of set three, going ahead 5-1, but the Bobcats again refused to let their hopes slip away, fighting back to lead 11-9. FSU grabbed a hint of momentum on kills by Knieper and Braun and a Delor-Thompson block for a 14-10 lead, but the Golden Eagles stormed back to take a 15-14 advantage. Six of the next eight points went Frostburg's way, as Braun had two scores, Keech and Thomson-Moran each found the floor, and Thompson put down an ace for a 20-17 lead. Knieper had a kill and Stanton served up another ace, as the Bobcats took advantage of some late UC miscues, including a service error to end the set 25-23 to keep the match alive.
The fourth set continued the trend of early Charleston leads, as they led 9-5 while FSU tried to stay within touching distance. An 8-3 Frostburg run was sparked by a Thompson kill and an ace by senior Jenna Gossard, followed by a trio of Golden Eagle errors, a kill by Braun, and Thompson bookending the run with another ace to lead 15-13. UC made it a back-and-forth affair, with each side trading points up to a narrow 20-19 advantage for the visitors. Frostburg's offense broke through again, as Thompson led the way with a pair of kills and a block with Braun to surge ahead 23-20. Despite two late Charleston points, Delor was able to finish off the set with two scores to win 25-22 and take things into a decisive fifth set.
Having let two sets slip away from them, UC wanted no part in being on the receiving end of a reverse sweep, as they took a commanding 9-2 lead to start the final frame. Thompson, Thomson-Moran, and Braun tried to provide some offense, but the Golden Eagles had built up enough of a cushion, eventually winning the match 15-6 after Knieper had kept FSU on match point in back-to-back kills.
Braun led all scorers with 18 kills, as Thompson (12) and Knieper (11) joined her in double figures, with Thompson also hitting an impressive .476 for the match. Junior Fiona Gonzalez Medina recorded a match-high 23 saves, while Thompson, Braun, and Thomson-Moran all had three blocks in the defensive effort. Stanton and Braun also tied for the match lead with three aces apiece.
With the loss, Frostburg falls to 9-11 on the year, while Charleston improves to 16-6. FSU faces a quick turnaround as they are back in Bobcat Arena on Saturday, October 14 for a 2 p.m. match against West Virginia State. Information and updates will be posted to