Eagles drop two matches at home to tough opponents

Derik Wuchte and Keith Smiley

It was a short weekend for Southern volleyball on Friday and Saturday. The team went against two sturdy opponents in Appalachian State and UT Arlington. Although the Eagles were coming off a two win streak on the road, they couldn’t find the right answers this weekend and fell short in both matches. Georgia Southern’s record now stands at 8-15 on the season.

Appalachian State is currently sitting on the number one spot of the Sun Belt as they are undefeated in conference play. The Eagles competed against them on Friday and were beat 3-0.

The Eagles had answers in the first set. As they’ve done all season, the Eagles have kept pace with their opponents in a deciding set or two. There was a moment in the flow of the first set where redshirt junior Alex Beecher went down for a second, holding her knee in pain. She was able to continue playing through the rest of the match at her normal rhythm, but this one instance of distraction seemed to drain some life from the team.

The Eagles would go to lose the first set 20-25. After that, App State found more gaps and would go on to close the match with a 3-0 victory.

“Really disappointed in the way we came to play,” said Head Coach Dustin Wood. “Think we were a little all talk tonight and didn’t execute. We had a bad setting night. We had some kids shying away from competition. There were a few bright spots, but I don’t like the taste of not playing well.”

“All I’m asking from this group is to play well. We didn’t play well tonight. We lost, but, since I’ve been here, all we’ve been telling them is to play well and I like our chances. If we play well, we’ll win.”

Volleyball would go to face UT Arlington that following Saturday night, with the team losing 3-0. This was the second loss in back-to-back games over the weekend for Georgia Southern.

The first two sets didn’t look good for the Eagles losing 25-15, and 25-21 to the Mavericks. Qiana Caneto and Stacey Koch both led the Mavericks with three kills each in the first set and both players finished the game with eight kills.

After a Georgia Southern timeout from being down 22-20, the Eagles fought back and eventually tied the game 24-24.With both teams looking to get ahead in the third set, a service error by Georgia Southern Stephanie Spencer put the Mavericks ahead 25-24 and that eventually led to UT Arlington 26-24 victory. Zhanelle Geathers recorded nine kills including the final one of the game to lead UT Arlington to a 3-0 sweep over Georgia Southern. Cassidy Wheeler chipped in by getting 29 assists, three kills and four blocks for the Mavericks.

The Eagles committed 26 errors against the Mavericks and 20 before the third set. The mistakes were costly all game and especially in the third set.

“We had 20 errors after two sets and that’s not gone win you any matches. We have to take a look at some things because we were a little rusty offensively and we didn’t make very good adjustments this whole weekend,” said Wood.

Megan Chevalier led the Eagles with 10 kills and recorded two blocks. Katie Bange tallied 27 assist, four kills, and five digs to lead Georgia Southern and Beecher recorded 19 digs.

Georgia Southern now (8-15, 3-8) will be looking to bounce back out of a two game slump against Sun Belt opponent Arkansas State in Arkansas on Friday, Oct. 30, at 6 p.m.