Eagles Sweep Top-Ranked Samford on Senior Night
In the opening frame, Georgia Southern started strong with a 4-0 lead, widening it to 10-5 behind a Sarah Gildersleeve kill (Naples, Fla.). The Eagles opened up an eight-point lead following a kill from Parker Small (Charlotte, N.C.) and a nine-point margin with a Bethany Sanford (Avondale, Ariz.) attack. Sarah Gardner served up an error, giving set point to Georgia Southern at 24-16. The Eagles won the set, 25-16, with a Kirby Monson (Houston, Tex.) kill, hitting a team combined .226 from the floor. Georgia Southern limited Samford to a -.036 clip in the opening frame.
Trailing 6-3 to start the second stanza, Georgia Southern rallied back to knot the score at eight and took the lead with a Lauren Claybaugh (Danville, Calif.) service ace. After holding the lead for one point, Samford relinquished control as Sanford and Kate Van Dyke (Shawnee, Kan.) initiated a 5-0 Georgia Southern run as the Eagles led 15-10. Sheriden Stangohr ended the Bulldog scoring drought, but the Eagles responded with another 5-0 run for a dominating 20-11 lead. Georgia Southern closed out the second set, 25-17, with a service error from Allie Bettinger.
Again Samford took an early 5-2 lead in the final set, but Georgia Southern answered back knotting the score at 7-apiece. The Eagles took the final lead of the match following an 8-all stint and held an 18-13 advantage following a Sanford kill. Gildersleeve gave the Eagles first match point, but the Bulldogs fought off two match points before Small finalized the conference win for Georgia Southern with a 25-19 third set win.
Georgia Southern hit .367 in the third set led by three Eagles hitting over .650. For the match, Sanford led all scorers with nine kills and Van Dyke paced the offense with 27 helpers. A season total 1,228 assists from the freshman setter ranks her third on the all-time record list for assists in a season and her 10.5 average puts her third on the respective list.
Closing out her collegiate career as an Eagle, lone senior Haines (Palos Heights, Ill.) tallied 15 digs in her final match and totaled 477 on the year alongside a 4.11 digs per set average. In just her first season as an Eagle, Haines cracked the program record book and following her senior campaign, Haines owns back-to-back record setting seasons. She owns third and fourth place on the digs list with 518 in 2008 and 477 in 2009, respectively.
“She is the heart of our team. As far as what we were able to do execution-wise, she came in and was a program changer,” said head coach Chad Callihan on senior Haines. “She has the smallest feet on the team, but she is leaving the biggest shoes to fill. I’m really going to miss her. On and off the court, she has been the epitome of what a student-athlete should be.”
With the condensed Southern Conference Tournament format, enabled as a cost-saving measure, the Georgia Southern volleyball team’s season came to a close with the win over Samford on Homecoming.
“This was a great way for us to close out our season tonight,” said Callihan. “Two seasons ago, they had 10 wins and 21 losses, and in two years, we’ve been able to flip that to 21-10. I know we are proud of that, but we know there is still a long way to go,” Callihan stated. “We feel we are laying a nice foundation to build on in the future.”
- Category: Volleyball
- Published on Saturday, 14 November 2009 21:03