Volleyball Faces Tough Competition on Final Road Trip
The Eagles, who take their final road trip of the regular season, will battle North leader Samford on Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern and Chattanooga on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Samford holds the SoCon’s best record at 11-1 and 21-3 overall, while UTC is 8-4 and 13-13. Both teams defeated the Eagles in Hanner Fieldhouse in late September.
“It’s going to a difficult and competitive weekend,” said GSU head coach Chad Callihan. “When you couple that with our longest road trip this season, it will be interesting. Hopefully we can stay focused over the weekend play competitively in both matches.”
Georgia Southern (14-13, 7-5) have won seven of their past nine matches, including a dominating 3-0 sweep of Savannah State on Tuesday. The Eagles rebounded from a 3-0 road loss at Wofford to defeat Furman in five Sunday to stay one half game ahead of the Paladins for second place in the division.
“I think it’s everyone’s goal to get better as the season goes along,” said Callihan. “We’re still playing up-and-down a little bit. We have to learn to compete night in and night out, but when we’re really out there competing, we’re playing as good a volleyball as we have at any point, we just have to make sure that we bring that competitiveness each evening. We have that lacking in some of our matches the last couple of weeks so that’s been our emphasis where we focus less on our wins and losses and more on giving a good effort each evening.”
Samford had their 11-match win streak snapped at Charleston on Oct. 18 but have won four straight since and knocked off Chattanooga 3-0 on Wednesday. The Bulldogs lead the league in five of seven team categories, including hitting percentage (.293), kills (14.03) and opponent’s hitting percentage (.141).
“They have a fast-paced offense, a lot of kids that can terminate, strong middles they get a lot of volume and production from their middle attackers and they really challenge you with the serve. We have to be disciplined and make sure we’re taking our feet to the ball in serve receive and allow our offense to develop.”
Defensively, Chattanooga rely heavily on one of the NCAA’s top liberos, Lara Newberry. The Lady Mocs top the SoCon charts in digs per set (17.12), thanks in large part to Newberry’s 6.45 per set average, which ranks first in the nation.
“The way their system is set up they funnel and feed a lot of balls to her,” said Callihan. “A lot of times if you have a hole or a seam in the block you want to attack it but that’s not necessarily the way you want to play against them because she does such a good job of filling those holes and seams. The main thing is to continue to be aggressive and know that just because there is a hole or seam there that it’s not necessarily your best shot.”
- Category: Volleyball
- Published on Friday, 31 October 2008 00:03