University of Mount Olive won the opening set and held an eight-point lead in the second set, but UNC Pembroke rallied for a 25-27, 25-20, 25-23, 25-12 victory over the Trojans in non-conference women's volleyball Tuesday at Kornegay Arena. Britni Johnson led Mount Olive with 14 kills, while Sarah Watkins recorded career highs of seven blocks and three aces.
Mount Olive (2-7) built a 23-18 lead in the first set after a block by Watkins and Sarah Robertson. UNC Pembroke (6-6) rallied to tie the set and Sabrina Gonzalez's ace gave the Braves a set point at 25-24. The Trojans fought off a set point on Alysha Burnett's kill and Dezirae Mackey's block gave Mount Olive its second set point. Mount Olive won the set on a UNCP attack error.
After UNC Pembroke evened the match at a set apiece, Montgomery Register sparked an 8-0 run in the third set to break a 14-14 tie. Register, playing her first-ever match at setter, had a kill for a side out and served two aces during a seven-point service run to give Mount Olive a 22-14 lead. Watkins had a pair of blocks during the run.
UNC Pembroke outscored the Trojans 11-1 to finish the set as Cecelia Brandon had a pair of blocks and Ka'asha Jefferies served back-to-back aces. The Braves jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the fourth set and Mount Olive never recovered.
The win was UNC Pembroke's second of the day. The Braves posted a four-set win at Elizabeth City State early in the afternoon.
Register, normally a middle blocker, finished with 27 assists and five blocks. Register says she didn't have much time to think about her new position.
"Coach (Colby Mangum) told me this afternoon that I would be the setter tonight," said Register, a 6-0 sophomore from Wilmington, N.C. "I asked the team before the match to trust me and they did."
Mackey added five blocks as Mount Olive recorded 12.0 blocks as a team. Clara Ervin served a pair of aces, while Burnett recorded a team-high 10 digs for the Trojans.
Mount Olive opens Conference Carolinas play this weekend with a pair of home matches. The Trojans play host to Erskine Friday at 7 p.m., then entertain first-year conference member Emmanuel Saturday at 2 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.