AUGUSTA, Ga. – Despite dropping the match 3-0 to USC Aiken, GRU Augusta played some of their best sets of volleyball on the season, against one of the best teams in the Peach Belt Conference Wednesday night in Christenberry Fieldhouse.
GRU Augusta (3-14, 0-9 PBC) named Leslye Barnette, libero Maggie Darling, Catherine DeSilvester, Michaela Honigl, Kristen Koch, Chandler Mass, and Paige Tuttle the starters for the opening set. DeSilvester stayed on serve for the early points of set one to lead the Jags to seven unanswered points for a 9-2 lead.
The Pacers (12-5, 5-2) rallied for an 11-all tie, keeping the set within one point until the 18-17 mark when USCA stole the advantage. GRU Augusta gave away two points on a four-touch call and serving error. A block assist from USCA's Aly Johnson and Taylor Stratton sealed the deal for a 25-22 Pacer set.
In set two, the Jags scored first on a Koch kill. USCA took their first lead on a Shawn Hotson kill to spark a Pacer run. Down 9-11, GRU scored five in a row to go ahead. The Jags stayed on top and had a two point lead up until the 22-all mark when GRU Head Coach Sharon Bonaventure called a timeout. Out of the pause, the Pacers scored the next three to win the set 25-23.
Aiken jumped up by three in the third set with Leah Rodgers on serve, until the Pacers were called for a bad setting attempt to give the Jags their first point. At an 8-8 tie, the Jags scored four unanswered to quiet the Pacers, but not for long. USCA came back to even things at 16-all – where the game remained point-for-point. The Pacers broke away from 21-all, to win the set 25-23 and the match 3-0.
The Jags hit .225 on the match to USCA's .267 and were out-blocked 7.0 to 3.0. Koch paced the Jags with a match-leading 18 kills, Mass provided 32 assists, and Honigl (11) and Darling (10) handled the digs. Johnson gave the Pacers 10 kills, while Amanda Bologna assisted 21 times and dug eight shots.
The Jags play in the Palm Beach Atlantic Tournament this weekend starting with a Friday, Oct. 11 match against Stonehill (Mass.) in West Palm Beach, Fla.
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