Sadie Appleton, Sports Correspondent
The Jacksonville State volleyball team hosted the Gamecock Classic at the Pete Mathews Coliseum this past weekend on Sept. 13 and Sept. 14. The tournament hosted the Stetson, Sam Houston State and Mississippi State volleyball teams. JSU began their weekend facing off against Sam Houston State from Huntsville, Texas. This would be the first ever meeting between the two programs.
In their match up, the Gamecocks captured the first set with a score of 25-17 with help from a .560 combined hitting percentage. Sam Houston State attempted to battle for a second set victory but were held to a .054 hitting percentage and 20 points by the Gamecock defense as JSU captured the second frame with 25 points. While JSU hoped to sweep the Bearkats, but fell in the third set with a score of 25-19.
Nevertheless, Jacksonville State was able to maintain their lead by posting 26 points against SHSU’s 24 for the decisive set. Jacksonville State walked away from the Sam Houston State match with a 3-1 win. The win was led by the Gamecock’s defense as freshman Erin Carmichael posted 15 digs, followed by junior Dani Steele with 12. Senior Kaylee Frear also made a big contribution with four blocks against the Bearkats.
Jacksonville State moved on in their tournament to face Stetson and were easily able to take the initial set with a score of 25-11. Eight of those points came from sophomore Lena Kindermann and junior Kaylie Milton as they drove home the victory with four kills each. While the team began the match with an aggressive set win, they let the second slip away as Stetson pulled away with a 25-19 victory. However, this would be the only set win that Stetson would see as JSU took home the remaining two with scores of 25-21 in the third and 25-18 in the fourth. Jacksonville State took the match win with a final score of 3-1. The Gamecocks closed out the first day with a record of 2-0. Kills reached double-digits for the day as Milton, Kindermann, Anderson and Frear posted 18, 17, 13, and 12, respectively.
While the Gamecocks came out strong in the opening of their tournament run, they unfortunately came up short in their face off against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The two teams battled hard throughout the match as the largest margin of victory in a set was only six points. During the match, the lead swapped nine times and the score was tied 28 times. Although Jacksonville State was met with its fifth loss of the season, the match against the Bulldogs also saw highs for multiple Gamecocks. Carmichael achieved a career high 25 digs and junior Lexi Libs set a season-high of 50 assists.
Libs’s contributions helped propel the offense aggressively as they had 31 more kills than their opponents. Once again, double-digit kills were recorded, Frear with 17, Kindermann with 15, followed closely by Milton with 14. Late rallies by Mississippi State plagued Jacksonville State’s runs as they gave up late leads in two of the four sets. The first set finished with a 25-22 loss that was then countered with a 26-24 victory in the second. MSU pulled away with another set win after a score of 25-23 and eventually took home the match after a nail-biting battle that ended with a final score of 25-19 for the Bulldogs.
Jacksonville State’s season record now stands at 4-5. The Gamecocks will travel to Charleston, South Carolina next weekend before returning home to Pete Mathews Coliseum to face off against Tennessee Tech on September 25. You can follow Jacksonville State Volleyball on twitter (JSUGamecocksVB) to keep up with the action.
Photo courtesy of JSU Gamecock Sports