Volleyball splits a pair of home games as they continue to look for answers

Keith Smiley and Kevin Keneely

The Volleyball team competed against Georgia State and Arkansas State last week, going 1-1 in the Sun Belt conference play. The team played confidently to get their win against Georgia State, but they fell short in their disappointing loss to Arkansas State. Georgia Southern moves to 6-13 on the season and 1-6 in conference play.

Georgia State was the first competition on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Sophomore Catherine Murray recorded eight kills in the win to go along with her nine digs. Georgia Southern was able to snap a six game losing streak as they ended up sweeping Georgia State 25-22, 25-12, 25-17.

Redshirt junior Alex Bleecher finished with 22 digs. Redshirt junior Katie Bange helped out with six kills, four digs and 22 assists.

Freshman Lauren Reichard recorded her first kill of the match to top Georgia State in the first set 25-22. Katie Bange recorded the final kill to help the Eagles win 25-12 in a lopsided second set. Georgia Southern trailed 3-6 early on in the third set before going on a 6-0 run that led to a 25-17 score to close out the match against Georgia State. They scored the final point from an attack error by Georgia State’s Deidra Bohannon that led to their victory.

Saturday’s game was a different experience against the Arkansas State Red Wolves as the Eagles looked to extend their Sunbelt Conference winning streak to a season high two games. The Eagles looked strong for most of the match despite losing in straight sets 26-24, 25-19, 25-13.

The Eagles came out explosive against the first place Sun Belt Conference Red Wolves. Georgia Southern knew that winning the first set was very crucial in controlling the outcome of the match.

Down 10-7 early in the match, the Eagles fought off a hard attack by the Red Wolves by winning a very exciting 8th point. An impressive block by Crysten Curry won the set, closing the lead to 10-8. This looked like a game changer for the Eagles, as they managed to score 6 of the next 10 points, tying the game at 14-14.

The Eagles looked as if they would win the first set once they led the Red Wolves 24-21. Despite the lead, the Eagles fell short by giving up 5 straight points to the Red Wolves.

The second set proved to be nearly as exciting as the first, as the Eagles were neck-and-neck with the Red Wolves till the end. They looked as if they had regained some momentum early in the second set by taking a 6-5 lead over the Red Wolves. This lead was backed by a couple of early kills by Murray.

“It shows us what we’re capable of–what’s in this group,” said head coach Dustin Wood. “We just have to maintain it through 25, 26, 27 points–no matter how it goes. 

Murray ended the day with season highs in nearly every offensive stat. She had 15 kills, 12 digs, 2 assists, and 15.5 points, all of which were bests for her this season.

During the third set, the Eagles never looked like themselves, committing multiple attack and service errors. They seemed to have lost their intensiveness midway through the final set, giving the Red Wolves their first double-digit lead of the night. Regardless of the outcome, the Eagles played a very good match and showed their resilience by fighting hard against a very stout Red Wolves team all night.

“We played real well first set. Second set, the wind was kind of knocked from our sails. We were in the set, and then: mentally checked out. But in the third set, we were cooked. We’re looking for players who can mentally hang and get the job done.”

“Arkansas State is a very good program, but we’re capable of being a very good program too. They were more consistent than us tonight.”

Georgia Southern is 6-13 overall and 1-6 in Sunbelt Conference play. They look to redeem themselves later this week against the University of Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday, Oct. 15 and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday, Oct. 16. Both games will be played on the road. The Eagles do not play at home again until Oct. 23 when they host Appalachian State at Hanner Fieldhouse.