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Dogs slam Eagles
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    Georgia’s defense stifled the Eagle volleyball team Saturday night as the Bulldogs cruised to a 3-0 (30-21, 30-17, 30-22) win in the final match of the Georgia Southern Invitational at Hanner Fieldhouse. The victory gave Georgia (3-0) the tournament championship.
    The Bulldogs held the home team to dismal .076 hitting percentage in the three-game set, only allowing one Eagle, junior transfer Bianca Julio, to reach double digits in kills (12). Five Georgia Southern players finished with negative hitting percentages, including junior outsider hitter Christy Dowd, one of the Eagles’ top offensive performers.
    “This was a very, very competitive tournament,” said GSU coach Nicole McCray. “It’s much different from last year. We had some high-quality, high-level teams coming in here and playing. Georgia came in here and just outplayed everybody. They’ve got a great team, a lot of different weapons, and they came in here and took care of business.”
    With the first game tied 3-3, Georgia took control, never letting Georgia Southern take the lead. Georgia’s Erika Clark recorded eight kills in the game, while the Eagles were held to a .030 hitting percentage and fell 30-21.
    GSU held the lead three times early in the second game and tied it at 13-13 before losing 30-17. The Eagles hit just .075 in the game, while Georgia hit .371 and amassed 17 kills to Georgia Southern’s 11.
    The Eagles went up 3-2 in the third and final game, but the Georgia defense came on strong again despite GSU hitting a match-high .111. Julio’s seven kills and six digs was the bright spot for the Eagles in the 30-22 defeat.
    With the loss, Georgia Southern fell to 1-2 on the year. Julio was named to the all-tournament team.
    GSU played with nine newcomers, many of whom saw time on the court, and McCray was pleased with their performances.
    “They are all a lot tougher than we thought they would be coming in as freshman, and they’ve handled themselves well,” she said. “The only way they are going to learn is by getting experience, and if we can do that now against good teams that’ll help us in conference.”
The GSU coach said there was plenty of good to take out of this weekend’s tournament.
    “There’s nothing like competition, and competing against somebody else is what we really needed,” she said. “Now we see what we are doing well, what we need to work on, and we’ll go back in the gym on Monday and get after it.”