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GSU pounds Elon in SoCon tournament opener

GSU pounds Elon in SoCon tournament opener

GSU pounds Elon in SoCon tournament opener

    GREENVILLE, S.C. — Nicole Jeschelnik tallied nine kills and 14 digs, and Georgia Southern held Elon to -.026 hitting for the match to earn a 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-16) volleyball victory over the Phoenix in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament Friday afternoon in Timmons Arena.
    The top-seeded Eagles (26-5) will meet fifth-seeded Appalachian State, which posted a 3-0 win over UNCG earlier today, in the semifinals today at 5 p.m.
    The Eagles swept the Mountaineers this season with a 3-2 win at Appalachian State Oct. 18, and a 3-0 home win Nov. 16. The Eagles had to come from behind in the fifth set of the first match, scoring six straight points to erase a 13-9 deficit and earn the win.
    “We just had App at our place last weekend, so we’re very familiar with each other,” said Georgia Southern coach Dustin Wood. “It’s going to be a battle, and it’s going to be exciting. We’ll give them our best and see what happens.”
    The Eagles had eight team blocks and 50 digs in today’s match and held Elon (16-17) under a .100 hitting percentage in all three sets.
    Elon’s hitting percentage on the day was the lowest against the Eagles this season.

“Our defense really picked up last week,” said Wood. “We got into a lull late in the season so we have been emphasizing our defense in practice, and it’s really picked up.”

Kym Coley finished with eight kills and four blocks for the Eagles (26-5), while Jamie DeRatt collected seven kills and nine digs. Crysten Curry posted six kills and four blocks, and Alexandra Beecher had 13 digs. Katalin Minnerly contributed 30 assists and a pair of blocks.

Leading 17-15 in the first set, Georgia Southern scored six straight points to take control and got kills from four different Eagles during the stretch. Elon answered with three straight points to get within five, but kills by Curry and DeRatt gave the Eagles the 25-18 win.

Georgia Southern recorded five team blocks and held Elon to -.175 hitting en route to winning the second set 25-13. Curry led the way with three blocks, while Jeschelnik and Beecher each collected five digs.

The Eagles never trailed in the third set and jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Elon cut the margin to three points at 14-11, but Georgia Southern used a 5-1 run, sparked by an ace from Lauren LaRocque and capped by a kill from Jeschelnik, to pull away.

The win gives the senior class of Jeschelnik, LaRocque and Enjoli Johnson 96 victories in their career, the most of any four-year class at Georgia Southern.

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