STATESBORO, Ga. - Kym Coley tallied 12 kills and three blocks, and Meredith Paskert added 10 kills and two blocks to lead Georgia Southern to a 3-1 (25-17, 25-23, 21-25, 25-19) volleyball victory over South Alabama in the opening match of the SpringHill Suites Eagle Invitational Thursday night in Hanner Fieldhouse.
Enjoli Johnson booked nine kills and four blocks, while Moriah Bellissimo collected eight kills and 16 digs for the Eagles (7-4). Kate Van Dyke posted 39 assists and 12 digs, and Alexandra Beecher added 20 digs.
Melissa Waelter posted 13 kills and 13 digs to lead South Alabama (5-6), and Savannah Stewart had 11 kills and 13 digs. Katariina Kananen finished with 36 assists and nine digs, and Jenna Hassell had
Defense led Georgia Southern in the match as the Eagles, who entered the night ranked sixth in the country in digs per set, tallied 67 digs and seven blocks and held the Jaguars to a .131 hitting percentage for the match. South Alabama had negative hitting percentages in the first and fourth sets.
Leading the match 2-1, Georgia Southern used a 6-1 run to break a 7-7 tie and gain some breathing room in the fourth set. Coley and Johnson notched kills during the stretch. The Jaguars fought back to 16-13, but Bellissimo and Coley notched kills, and Nicole Jeschelnik got an ace to push the lead to 21-15. The Eagle lead never shrank below five for the rest of the way.
After Georgia Southern took the first set 25-17, the second set was back and forth until the Eagles scored the last two points of the frame. With the GSU ahead 24-23, Coley's kill put the Eagles up 2-0 in the match.
Georgia Southern returns to action in the tournament tomorrow night when the Eagles host Wisconsin at 7 p.m. in Hanner Fieldhouse. The tournament continues tomorrow at 10 a.m. as Wisconsin takes on Savannah State.
Ohio 3, UNCG 0
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Ohio University, a squad that has reached the NCAA Tournament for eight-straight seasons, handed UNCG its first three-set loss (15-25, 16-25, 19-25) of the season, cruising past the Spartans Thursday evening at Fleming Gymnasium.
UNCG (4-4) was limited to a hitting percentage of .044 - its worst showing of the season - and was out-blocked by its visitors by a 9.0-4.0 count. Meanwhile, Ohio (5-5) put up a .315 hitting mark and owned the upper hand in kills at 41-28. Defensively, the teams were virtually even as the Bobcats finished with an ever so slight edge in digs (36-35).
Freshman libero Katherine Santiago racked up 14 digs to lead the back row for the Spartans while redshirt junior outside Olivia Humphries tallied 10 kills. Junior libero Kellie Orewiler also contributed two service aces and a kill.
Orewiler began the proceedings with an ace, but Ohio went on a 6-2 run - capped off by a Serena Warner kill - to push in front by a 6-3 score. UNCG rallied and tied the frame at eight on junior Morgan Freeman's ace, but the Bobcats scored eight of the next 10 points to establish a 16-10 cushion. The Spartans would score just five more times in the interval, leading to the 25-15 final set score.
With the teams tied at three in the second set, sophomore Vicky Harley committed an offensive miscue to finish a 5-1 Ohio run which made the score 8-4. Freshman Lauren Betlach pulled UNCG within three at 11-8 with a kill, but another 5-1 tear helped the Bobcats take control and build a 16-9 advantage. The Spartans did not threaten again as Ohio cruised to the 25-16 victory and a 2-0 match lead.
UNCG fell behind early in the third interval, 10-5, but dug down and clawed to within 17-14 on a Betlach kill. Junior Karrian Chambers kept the Spartans close with a kill as they trailed by only two late (21-19). However, two aces, a kill and a UNCG attack error pushed the Bobcats to the finish line as they won the final set 25-19.
The Spartans return to the court tomorrow (Friday), Aug. 14, as they host the Spartan Spiketacular. Morehead State and Youngstown State will battle at 4:30 inside Fleming Gymnasium before UNCG and UNC Wilmington face off at 7 p.m. The event concludes Saturday with four matches.