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Eagles open tourney with CMU
091013 GSU VOLLEYBALL 02 WEB
Georgia Southern's Lauren LaRocque digs out a shot against Georgia at Hanner Fieldhouse in GSU's 2013 home opener in this Tuesday, Sept. 10, file photo. The Eagles, winners of all three tournaments they've appeared in so far this season, host Central Michigan today at 7 p.m., in the "Battle in the Boro" opener. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file

Battle in the Boro
Friday's Games
11 a.m.
    Jackson State vs. Central Michigan
5 p.m.
    Charleston Southern vs. Jackson State
7 p.m.
    Georgia Southern vs. Central Michigan

    It was a matter of weeks before the start of the 2013 season when first-year Georgia Southern volleyball coach Dustin Wood took over the program.
    Now it’s less a month into the season, and the Eagles have appeared in three weekend tournaments — at South Alabama, at Ole Miss, and another at home in Hanner Fieldhouse — and have won all three.
    “I think we’re a coach’s dream,” joked sophomore Crysten Curry.
    Curry was voted Most Valuable Player at GSU’s tournament last weekend against North Dakota State, Oral Roberts and High Point.
    The Eagles (9-2) welcome Central Michigan, Jackson State and Charleston Southern for the “Battle in the Boro” tournament, which begins today at 11 a.m., in Hanner Fieldhouse.
Wood agrees with Curry that he’s lucky to have inherited a team that went 15-1 in Southern Conference play in 2012, and likes what he’s seen throughout the Eagles’ hot start.
    “We’re happy,” Wood said. “I mean 9-2 is a great start, and we’ve got the opportunity to do some great things.”
    Wood didn’t change procedure when he took over the program. He believes in letting the players think on the fly. Former coach Chad Callihan took a more X’s and O’s approach to coaching.
    “I think with Chad, there was a lot of focus on little tiny details,” said Lauren LaRocque, a senior who missed much of 2012 with an injury. “You kind of got tied up with what you were doing on the court, thinking too much. I think with coach Wood, it’s easy just to play freely and relax.”
    The Eagles have had a chip on their shoulder since the 2012 SoCon tournament, falling to Furman in the semifinals after a dominating, one-loss run through the regular season.
    “It was a humbling experience,” Curry said. “This team is one that doesn’t rest on our laurels at all. We’re really hungry for what we want. We’re all on the same page, we’re all driven as individuals, and when you put that together on a team.”
    After 3-0 losses to Troy on the road and at the home opener against Georgia, Wood learned a lot about the resilience of his team.
    “I’m getting to know them. I think I’m getting to know them very well, but they showed me some things (in Saturday’s wins over North Dakota state and Oral Roberts) thatsurprised.me. Each day I learn from them, and if they’re learning from me, I’m happy.”
    “I’m getting to know them,” Wood said. “I think I’m getting to know them very well, but they showed me some things (in Saturday’s wins over North Dakota state and Oral Roberts) that surprised me. Each day I learn from them, and if they’re learning from me, I’m happy.”
    They’re a group of players that’s awfully hard on themselves after a loss.
    “They’re too hard on themselves sometimes,” Wood said. “I guess that’s a good thing. I have to hold back a little bit.”
    With wins over Ole Miss, NDSU and future Sun Belt foes South Alabama and Arkansas State, Wood is confident his Eagles know exactly who they are.
    “They’ve got to come play,” he said. “When we play well, usually there’s going to be a ‘W’ there. We expect to win, but we can’t expect to win if we don’t play well.”
    The Eagles open play in the Battle in the Boro against Central Michigan at 7 p.m., and face Charleston Southern and Jackson State on Saturday.

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.