Pirate Volleyball Goes 2-1 on the Week

Tirae Stevens, Staff Writer

The Armstrong volleyball team huddles during one of their 2016 contests. They hope to make a push in their final month of the year — October 1, 2016 (Armstrong Communication)

The Armstrong State University volleyball team went 2-1 during the week of Oct. 30-Nov. 5, improving their record to 19-6 overall and 9-5 in Peach Belt Conference play.

The Pirates traveled to Flagler College Wednesday, Nov. 2, to play the Saints in the teams’ second meeting of the season. After falling to the Saints 3-2 at home earlier in the season, the Pirates sought to get revenge.

Unfortunately, this was not the case as the Pirates fell to the Saints 3-0. Set scores were 25-23, 25-21, 25-22. Sophomore Raegan Grooms paced the Pirates’ offense with 13 kills. Sophomore Carley Eiken had 30 assists and junior Iva Scepanovic collected 15 digs.

After a day of break, the Pirates went back on the road Friday, Nov. 4, to face the Jaguars of Augusta University. It was a back-and-forth affair between the two teams, with the Pirates winning sets one and three and the Jaguars winning sets two and four. It came to the fifth set, where Augusta began with a 5-2 lead. However, after an error on the part of the Jaguars, Armstrong State went on an 8-0 run led by the serving efforts of sophomore Kristi Vaughn.

This run allowed the Pirates to secure the set and the match 3-2. Four Pirates had double-digit kills in this match: Grooms with 16; sophomore Raquel Kulak with 13; freshman Autumn Mayo with 12; and senior Rachel Thompson with 10. Mayo contributed the team’s turnaround from Wednesday to focus and recovery.

“I think we just had time to mentally and physically recover in between the games and that helped us a lot,” she said.

The Pirates were right back at it Saturday, Nov. 5, when they traveled to Milledgeville to play the Bobcats of Georgia College. The biggest challenge of the night came during set three, when the Bobcats staved off two Pirate match points to tie things at 24-all.

The set went to 26-all, and seniors Rachel Thompson and Kim Brody used kills to put the match away. They were ultimately able to pick up a 3-0 win over the Bobcats, with set scores being 25-21, 25-23, 28-26.

Raegan Grooms led the way, clinching two of the three sets for the Pirates. She had 16 kills, 13 digs, and a season-high six aces to lead the offensive efforts for Armstrong State. Rachel Thompson added 13 kills and four blocks, and senior Kim Brody contributed 11 kills to the total.

“We did a good job fighting through and playing together as a whole,” Brody said regarding the win. “I really felt the team chemistry and togetherness which helped us pull ahead and get a win.”

“It’s extremely important to be able to keep moving forward after a win or loss,” Eiken added. “This weekend, we played hard and we were able to come away with two big wins.”

Armstrong State returned home Monday, Nov. 7, to host the August Jaguars. They will next compete at home Friday, Nov. 11, against the UNC Pembroke Braves for Military Appreciation Night.