Volleyball started conference games off strong with a 1-0 record this past week in a match against Western Carolina University. The Bucs travelled to Cullowhee, North Carolina, for the match.

The Bucs swept Western Carolina 3-0 (25-23, 25-11, 25-1) on Wednesday evening.

“Taking down some big-name schools and a ranked school brings out everyone’s confidence in our program, and gives us a boost for the start of our conference,” said senior Braedyn Tutton (Courtice, Ontario).

The Bucs played with confidence in the first set with a seven-point lead and back-to-back kills from Tutton. Bucs continued to lead the score 10-3 as senior Alyssa Kvarta (Crown Point, Indiana) assisted another kill made by Tutton. The Catamounts came back with a 6-0 run making it a close score, but the Bucs kept control and went on to win the first set 25-23.

The Bucs continued to show their dominance in the second set, starting with a five-point lead, and eventually gaining a 10-point lead with Kvarta’s 4-0 serve run. The Bucs led the score 22-11 after a block by junior Kaela Massey (Brentwood, Tennessee) and senior Mariah McPartland (Boone, Iowa) just before the Catamounts called a timeout, but in the short seconds left in the second set the Bucs gained three points finishing the set 25-11.

The Catamounts took lead in the beginning of the third match, but the Bucs quickly came back with a 2-0 serve run each by McPartland and Massey, and later a 6-0 serve run by junior Leah Clayton (Danville, Virginia), making the score 14-7. The Bucs were unstoppable, and continued to score with back-to-back kills by senior AJ Lux (Shelbyville, Indiana), making the score 21-13. The set ended with a kill by McPartland, closing the set with a score of 25-14.

Kvarta had a standout game reaching 2,000 career assists. Sophomore Marija Popovic (Belgrade, Serbia) led with 16 digs. Clayton led with 13 kills, and Tutton tied her career high of 10 kills in one match.

The Bucs will take on Samford at home on Sept. 28.