Volleyball takes home SoCon championship

Robert Huitt

The Georgia Southern University volleyball team finished the regular season on a 12-match winning streak and won the Southern Conference Southern Division title for the third time in GSU history and the first time since 2003.

There was a lot on the line over the weekend for the Eagles and they took care of business with two important victories.

Saturday was senior night for GSU, and seniors Kate Van Dyke, Meredith Paskert and Moriah Bellissimo were honored before the game against Wofford College. The three seniors played important roles for the team throughout the season and helped put GSU in position to clinch the title.

WC showed no fear of the Eagles in the early going and played them tough in the first two sets.

The first set was a back-and-forth affair with multiple ties and lead changes. During a long rally, freshman libero Alexandra Beecher flashed her defensive abilities to help GSU take the point 21-20 and win the set 25-22. Beecher ended the match with 28 digs.

“She’s been very steady for us all season, and the last couple of weeks you can kind of see that she is really beginning to settle into our system and what we want to do,” head coach Chad Callihan said.

WC bounced back and started the second set just as strong as the first. This set proved to be a battle as well with no team able to completely grab control. WC won the set 25-23.

With the first two sets being so competitive, it seemed like the 422 people in attendance would be treated with a five-set match. However, GSU wore down WC and won the third set 25-11 and the fourth set 25-15.

Paskert and Bellissimo shined on senior night with each tallying 15 kills to lead the team. Van Dyke also added four kills and 44 assists.

Those in attendance on Friday night saw the Eagles defeat a good Furman University team (21-9 overall) in straight sets 25-23, 25-14 and 25-16. Paskert and Bellissimo tied for a team-leading 11 kills each in this match also.

“Having wins like this, especially against such a good team, is such a confidence booster,” Beecher said.

Now the Eagles turn their attention to the SoCon tournament.

“We definitely feel good about the way we’re playing right now. We kind of talked about this weekend as a final tune-up,” Callihan said.

The SoCon tournament will start on Nov. 17 and last through Nov. 19 at Davidson College.