MONTREAT, N.C. – The Shawnee State volleyball team is off to a 3-1 start in 2013 after a split of its final two matches at Montreat College’s Volley in the Mountains Tournament.
After a pair of victories on Friday, the Bears were dealt their first loss of the season at the hands of Coastal Georgia in straight sets before their first sweep of 2013 against Northwood (FL).
A strong hitting effort from the Mariners in the first match stifled SSU’s attempt at three-straight victories to start the season. As a team, Coastal Georgia hit .281 with 23 kills against just five errors in their 64 recorded attempts.
The Mariners also dug out 36 of the Bears’ kill attempts which limited SSU to just one player, freshman Lauren Helbig, who would record five or more kills. Helbig ended the match with six kills in all.
Hannah Gephart and Bonnie Huesing equally split the setting responsibilities with each tallying seven helpers in the opening match. Carly Mazza and Kirsti Yates tied for the team lead in digs with eight each over the three sets while Madison Smith and Gephart each finished with seven.
After a break in between their two matches, the Bears quickly responded against the Seahawks and did not allow their opponent more than 17 points in any set in the first-ever meeting between the two programs. (The match with Coastal Georgia was also the first time SSU met that team in program history).
In the winning effort, six kills – this time by Tiffany Jackson – were once again the team high. However, nine different Bears would record a kill in the match. As a team, they put away 29 kill attempts while committing just 11 errors. On the other hand, they allowed Northwood to finish just 19 kill attempts while forcing 26 attack errors as the Seahawks finished with a negative hitting percentage.
Huesing finished with 12 assists to lead the squad. She has now recorded double-digit helper totals in three of her first four collegiate matches.
Gephart would tally eight assists in the second match. Mazza led the team in digs with 16 and now has double-digit totals in three of her four matches after playing as a setter last season. Yates finished the match with 10 digs in all.
After a 3-1 start this weekend to the 2013 season, Shawnee State will now get ready for Mid-South Conference play as the Bears travel Sept. 3 to rival Rio Grande. The meeting with the RedStorm will start a streak of five-straight matches against MSC competition on the road.
Shawnee State split its two matches with Rio a season ago and the two teams were picked fourth (SSU) and fifth (Rio) in the MSC Preseason Poll.