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Volleyball Eagles take SoCon title

Volleyball Eagles take SoCon title

Volleyball Eagles take SoCon title

The Georgia Southern volleyball team ...

    GREENVILLE, S.C. — The Georgia Southern volleyball team made the most of its final appearance in the Southern Conference Tournament.
    Most Outstanding Player Jamie DeRatt recorded 22 kills, 14 digs and two blocks to lead the Eagles to a 3-1 (25-17, 25-18, 16-25, 25-23) victory in the championship match over Samford Sunday evening in Timmons Arena.
    It’s Georgia Southern’s fourth SoCon Tourney title, and the Eagles receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. The NCAA Championship Selection Show will be Sunday, Dec. 1, at 9:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
    Sophomore Katie Bange and junior Kym Coley were named to the all-tournament team. Bange finished tonight’s match with 13 kills, while Coley had six kills and three blocks. Senior Nicole Jeschelnik posted 11 kills, 12 digs and six blocks, while Alexandra Beecher collected a match-high 25 digs.
    Katalin Minnerly finished with 45 assists, and senior Lauren LaRocque notched 14 digs. The Eagles (28-5), who will move into the Sun Belt Conference next season, tied the school record for wins in a season with 28, set by the 1993 team.
    Leading the match 2-1 but trailing 22-20 in the fourth set, the Eagles ran off four straight to set up match point. Jeschelnik started the run with a kill, and DeRatt added a kill and a block. After Reesor got a kill for Samford, DeRatt drilled a cross-court kill for the win.
    “We threw a blocking sub in there in Christina (Vereb), and even though she didn’t get a touch, I think it got in their head a little bit,” said Georgia Southern coach Dustin Wood. “Then we overloaded the right side and tried to kick it out to Jamie (DeRatt) to put it away. They executed the game plan perfectly all night. I’m very proud of them.”
    Michaela Reesor collected 19 kills and 11 digs to lead Samford (23-11), and Erin Bognar posted 13 kills and 12 digs. Chelsi Carter finished with 24 digs.
    The Eagles hit .343 in the first set while allowing Samford an .065 percentage en route to winning the frame 25-17. Georgia Southern recorded four team blocks in the set and dug 17 balls. Leading 11-9, GSU used a 9-1 run, sparked by three Bange kills, to open a 20-10 cushion. Bange had seven kills on eight attempts.
    Leading 16-14 in the second frame, the Eagles scored two straight points, with the last coming on a tremendously long rally featuring four nifty digs by Beecher and capped by a DeRatt kill, to open an 18-14 lead. Samford won the next two points, but kills by DeRatt and Bange sparked a 7-2 run as the Eagles took the set 25-18 and a 2-0 lead in the match.
    Leading 12-11 in the third, Samford used a 7-1 run, sparked by kills by Taylor Palmer and Bognar, to open a 19-12 cushion. The Eagles trimmed the lead to 19-16, but Bognar halted the rally with a kill down the line, sparking the Bulldogs to finish out the set with six straight points.

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