Eagle Volleyball Opens Conference Slate This Weekend
Georgia Southern enters the conference slate with a 9-5 overall mark coming off a 3-1 road swing with Charleston Southern and the Wingate Inn Classic. The Eagles opened the week’s play downing Charleston Southern in four sets before sweeping James Madison to open their final fall tournament. Host school Winthrop rallied for a five-set win over the Eagles who closed out the Wingate Inn Classic with a triumph over Gardner-Webb.
For the season, sophomore outside hitter Bethany Sanford (Avondale, Ariz.) holds 186 of Georgia Southern’s total 670 kills. Sanford has been named SoCon Player of the Week twice to start the season. Freshman setter Kate Van Dyke (Shawnee, Kan.) continues to shine for the Eagles recording 531 assists. Senior libero Cristin Haines (Palos Heights, Ill.) paces Georgia Southern with 166 digs.
“We’re excited about opening conference play after a good week of training,” said head coach Chad Callihan. “Being on the road so much, we didn’t have the time to really get in and work on the things we thought we could be doing better. So this week was a nice opportunity for us to work on our execution and correct some things that really plagued us during the preseason.”
Wofford, 12-2 on the year, wrapped up the SC State Spikefest with a perfect 4-0 record, defeating Providence, Winston-Salem State, UNC-Asheville and Hampton. The Terriers are led by Shanna Hughes who holds 136 kills on the season and Sarah Palmer, who boasts 168 digs.
Wofford will look to continue an 11-match win streak and avenge a 3-2 defeat by the Eagles in Hanner Fieldhouse that closed out the Eagles’ regular season in 2008. The Eagles lead the all-time series with Wofford, 20-6.
“I think this is going to be a great test to start the conference. Wofford has one of the best records in the league and are playing with a lot of confidence right now. They played us very well at their place last year, so I’m expecting a great match there,” said Callihan.
Furman (7-3), who was preseason picked to finish second in the south division, returns home to host the Eagles on Saturday after going 1-2 at the Clemson Classic. The Paladins fell to Michigan State and Clemson, but picked up a win against Presbyterian College. Furman dropped its season-opening match against Jacksonville State before going on a 6-match win streak entering the Clemson Classic.
The Paladins are led by Katherine Hall who is one kill shy of 100 and Stephanie Smith with 130 digs. The Eagles and Paladins split the series in 2008 as Furman holds the series advantage over Georgia Southern, 26-14.
“We’ll follow up Wofford with Furman, who was picked as one of the favorites in the league and will be looking to defend the championship,” Callihan stated.
“This is probably the toughest start to conference play that you could have. But it is good for us. We need a tough start early on to set the tone for what conference is going to be like. Every match is going to count with the conference only taking two teams to the tournament in each division. We need to understand early on what is going to be expected each day.”
Match times against Wofford and Furman are slated for 7 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday, respectively.
- Category: Volleyball
- Published on Thursday, 24 September 2009 12:16