The Doghouse: Volleyball Senior Night, Basketball Opens with Wins

Doghouse Recap, Nov 14, 2016

Photo submitted my UU Athletics

Welcome to The Doghouse, a weekly column recapping Union University sports action from the weekend.

This weekend at Union, volleyball closed out their season with a win over West Georgia Friday, while women’s and men’s basketball both went 2-0 in their first weekend of regular season games. Also, the Union Jaxx hosted a six team ultimate tournament.

It was an emotional game for the Lady Bulldogs on Friday, as it was senior night.

“Senior days are always interesting,” said head coach Darrin McClure. “This year we celebrated it all week.  I would say emotions were positive and very focused to send our seniors out on a positive note.”

In their final match of the season, the Union volleyball team swept West Georgia with set scores of 25-15, 25-22, and 26-24. Each set was back and forth, and West Georgia had runs, albeit insufficient, to match the Lady Bulldogs.

In the game, senior Deja Moorer led with 12 kills, and finished her career with 1,001 kills.

“For me, the emotions in the locker room didn’t feel any different,” Moorer said. “I was sure to remind myself that this game was just like any other game, so my emotions weren’t running high or anything. Once we scored that final point, reality hit me a little. I teared up thinking about how my volleyball career was over.”

Moorer and seniors McKenna Carter and Hannah Huguley closed out their career with a dominant group performance. Moorer and Huguley each had three service aces, while Carter led in blocks with four, good for 242 in her career. Huguley added 29 assists and finishes her career with 2,329.

“My career here at UU was a rollercoaster ride, but I love roller coasters,” Moorer said. “I gained some lifelong friends. Hannah, McKenna, and I started together, and we went out with a bang together.

With their staggering statistics, the trio leaves behind a legacy of chemistry and intensity on the floor. The Lady Bulldogs end the season 11-20 overall and 8-12 in conference.

The Union women’s basketball team opened their regular season with a 98-64 win over Barry University in the SSC/GSC Crossover Classic on Friday.

Ranked No. 19 in the nation, the Lady Bulldogs shattered the opposition. They exploded out from the first tip with a 16-0 run and later added a 12-point streak to go into the half leading 54-29.

In the second half, Union had fewer big runs, but plenty of cushion. Their largest lead of the game came with about eight minutes to play, as they mustered a 46-point advantage.

Jada Smith led the team, scoring 23 points for her third best point total of her college career. Sara Lytle scored 17, Jada Perkins scored 13, Fredi Nielssen scored 12, and Tiffany Rechis scored 11. The Lady Bulldogs shot 61 percent from the field in comparison to 41 percent for Barry.

In their second game of the season, Union ousted the host of the classic, No. 23 Nova Southeastern, 75-65.

As in the previous game, Union opened with another double digit run, this time 15-2. Nova responded with 25-10 stretch to go up 27-25. However, the Lady Bulldogs rallied to go to halftime with a  32-31 lead.

In the third quarter, the teams stayed neck and neck, with Nova taking a 51-47 lead. Union tied it at 53 as well as at 61. The Lady Bulldogs then put up a 14-4 run to win.

Union shot 50 percent from the field to 39 percent for Nova. Smith had 19 points and seven rebounds and Perkins had 15 points and seven rebounds. Nielsen put up 10-point 10-rebound double-double.

For the men, Union basketball hosted the GSC/SIAC Crossover Challenge this weekend. The Bulldogs defeated Spring Hill College on Friday 66-53.

In the game, three of Union’s freshmen – Alex Keel, Bennett Fuzak, and Tray Boyd – combined for 29 points. Overall, the Bulldogs had no trouble handling the opposition, taking a 37-26 halftime lead and later a 21-point advantage. Spring Hill tried to come back, but a combined five points from Ashanti Day and Nick Velasquez stopped the 11-point run.

Union shot 46 percent from the field to 38 percent for Spring Hill. From behind the arc, Union went 14-34 for 41 percent; Spring Hill had one three. Day and Jarad Scott each had ten points, and Scott also had eight rebounds. KC Goodwin led with six assists.

In Saturday’s game, Union defeated LeMoyne-Owen 82-60.

The game started back and forth until Union went ahead 8-7. They never trailed again. At half, the score was 42-28, and Scott already had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The second half was more of the same, with Union continuing to add to their lead.

Scott closed out the double-double with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Day had 14 points and eight rebounds, Goodwin had 11 points and six assists, and Boyd and Felipe Rocha each had 10 points. Union shot 51 percent from the field to 37 percent for LeMoyne-Owen.

The Union Jaxx Fall Classic signaled the finale of their fall tournament schedule.

The Jaxx competitive team went 2-3 in Saturday’s pool play, defeating the Jaxx developmental team and a club team called Grit and Grind. The Jaxx lost to Vanderbilt, Memphis, and Middle Tennessee State.

Sunday, the six teams were placed in a bracket, with the Jaxx set to face Grit and Grind. The opposition forfeited the game, and the Jaxx advanced to play Vanderbilt. The Armada beat the Jaxx and went on to win the tournament over Middle Tennessee State. The Jaxx competitive team finished in fourth and the Jaxx developmental team finished in fifth.

After the tournament, Jaxx head coach Harrison Hayes and team captain Garrett Wilson spoke to the team about what to take away. They pointed out that most of the mistakes were made on offense. While the team is athletic and has solid defense, they have struggled to convert when it comes to scoring. They said that the key for the Jaxx, especially when the national tournament rolls around in the spring, will be sticking to their game plan and running their set system of plays instead of forcing awkward throws. Also, they emphasized staying in shape to get more explosive in cutting. They showed pride in how the team has progressed this fall and are looking forward to the Spring season.

Looking ahead, men’s basketball plays at Auburn University-Montgomery on Thursday and at Southern Mississippi on Friday. Women’s basketball is off until Nov. 22.