Eagles Stun College of Charleston in Five Sets, 3-2
Improving to an impressive 8-1 home record, Georgia Southern pushed its overall ledger to 14-6 with the win and 4-1 in conference play. Meanwhile, the Cougars dropped to 7-10 overall and 3-2 in the SoCon. The loss marks only the 11th conference defeat in nine years for College of Charleston, who has already fallen to Furman this season.
“When you think about the top teams in the league, College of Charleston is always the team that comes to mind. They are a quality program and was pre-season picked to finish first,” said head coach Chad Callihan. “This was a great win for us as we continue to build things as a program. We will enjoy this win for a little while and then get ready for the next match.”
Four Eagles recorded double-doubles in the win led by sophomore Nelson (Norcross, Ga.) who finished with 17 kills and 14 digs. Nelson’s showing marked a career-high kill performance and second career double-double. Bethany Sanford (Avondale, Ariz.) recorded her 10th double-double of the season with 16 kills and 17 digs as Lauren Claybaugh (Danville, Calif.) capped off the match with 14 kills and 13 digs for her second double-double of the season and career.
Parker Small (Charlotte, N.C.) tied her season-high kill performance with 15 as freshman setter Kate Van Dyke (Shawnee, Kan.) tallied 63 assists and 14 digs. Senior libero Cristin Haines (Palos Heights, Ill.) led the defense with a match-high 23 digs.
College of Charleston hit .287 from the floor led by Sarah Havel’s match-high 19 kills on no errors. Cole Dawley led the defense with 14 digs, 48 assists and three service aces.
“I thought we did a nice job offensively today with the exception of the second set and a couple of moments in the fourth set where we just started to get tight. We did a nice job of keeping our mindset on winning the match, rather than getting caught up on thinking we have the chance to beat Charleston,” said Callihan. “We put forth a strong offense and, our blocking needed to improve on our defense, but I thought our digging behind the block was very strong. We out-dug them by almost 30 balls in the match.”
Georgia Southern came out firing in the opening set, grabbing an early 16-11 led forcing the Cougars to take a timeout. Three consecutive kills from Havel closed College of Charleston to within two points at 16-14, but the Eagles opened their lead back to four at 20-16. Four kills from four contributing Cougars mixed with an Eagle kill closed the score to 21-20 Georgia Southern. Nelson fired her fourth kill of the stanza, as the Eagles closed out the first set, 25-20, with two opponent errors and a service ace from Sarah Gildersleeve (Naples, Fla.).
College of Charleston won a decisive second set in a come-from-behind fashion. With Georgia Southern leading 9-8, the Eagles broke away to a seven-point lead at 20-13, but the Cougars went on a 9-0 run to take a 22-20 advantage. A Havel kill gave the Cougars set point, 24-22, as College of Charleston evened the match with a second set win, 25-23.
Carrying the momentum from the second set, College of Charleston held the lead the majority of the third set until Georgia Southern came back to tie the stanza at 20-all. Trailing 12-9, the Eagles slowly chipped away at their deficit to 19-20 when a Nelson kill tied the set at 20-all. The conference foes traded points to a 21-all tie when Georgia Southern took its first lead of the set off a Claybaugh kill. Four more ties ensued as the teams pitted the set at 25-all. Behind strong serving from lone senior Haines, Georgia Southern took a highly contested third set, 27-25, with a kill from Van Dyke and service ace from Haines.
Striking .343 from the floor, College of Charleston grabbed the fourth set, 25-21. Georgia Southern tied the set twice at 5-all and 12-all, but the Cougars never relinquished control. Following the 12-all tie, College of Charleston broke away finding set point at 24-21. An Eagle error secured the set in favor of the Cougars, forcing a final fifth set.
The Cougars grabbed the first two points to begin the final set, but the Eagles retaliated going on a 5-0 run to take a 5-2 lead. Georgia Southern continued to hold a two-point lead, but College of Charleston chipped away and tied the set at 9-all. At 10-all, the Cougars took a two-point lead helped by a Jennifer Darty kill and Eagle error and the Cougars found match point at 14-12. Georgia Southern fought off consecutive match points by a Nelson kill and service ace from Sanford, tying the stanza at 14-all. Gildersleeve put the Eagles in front with a kill and Nelson secured the match on the next point with her 17th kill of the match.
“Hannah Nelson had a huge match for us with a double-double and her career-high in kills. She did a wonderful job of playing within herself, putting timely balls away, and not making any errors. Defensively she also made some nice plays as well,” said Callihan. “I also thought Kate [Van Dyke], with the situation, did a wonderful job of distributing the ball to our hitters and keeping the other team’s defense off-balance, while playing good defense of her own. Consistently, she is continually developing into a great player for us.”
Georgia Southern closes out this four-match homestand Tuesday, October 13. The Eagles will host SoCon veteran Davidson on Dig Pink Night at 6 p.m. Single-game tickets for Georgia Southern volleyball matches are priced at $5 for an adult and $1 for youth (ages 3-12). Season tickets can be purchased for $15 for a general admission pass. A family plan, which includes two adult passes and two children passes, can be purchased for only $35.
For more information regarding tickets, please call the Georgia Southern Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-GSU-WINS or visit the official website of the Georgia Southern Eagles at www.GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com.
- Category: Volleyball
- Published on Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:44