By Angela Moryan, Sports Information Assistant
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The 2016 Georgia College Volleyball team (13-7, 4-4 PBC) is now officially the winningest squad in Bobcat history after defeating the previous Peach Belt Conference (PBC) leader Flagler College (11-6, 7-2 PBC) in a come-from-behind five-set win on the road Monday night. The match was previously scheduled for earlier in the season but postponed due to Hurricane Matthew.
The Bobcats accelerated to Florida after the 2-0 weekend doubleheader sweep in Misenheimer, North Carolina, and pushed the Saints out of the solo first position on the PBC leaderboard after dominating the latter three sets for a Blue and Green "W." This is the first time in program history the Bobcats have topped the Saints.
"That was a fantastic win for our program!" head coach Gretchen Krumdieck said after the match. "I couldn't be prouder of the fight and effort in our play tonight."
The Bobcats proved that being outplayed in the first two sets is no excuse for a loss.
Georgia College kept the first set tight, matching Flagler's 17 kills with 16 for themselves. The numbers were pretty even during the first set, but the Saints came out on top, 25-21. The Saint defense completely shut down the Bobcats in the second set, stopping the Bobcats at seven kills with 25 attacks and topping the visiting team 25-14.
The Bobcats turned on the jets in the third set, not allowing a five-hour bus trip back to Milledgeville to be one shadowed in a loss. The ladies took a tight one in the third, coming out on top of a 25-22 final set score. They then halted the Saints offence at nine kills in 20 attempts in the fourth set. That paired with the Bobcats' own 14 kills gave Georgia College the edge. The Bobcats forced the tie-breaking fifth after a 25-18 fourth set win.
The fifth set stalled at 3-3 before the Bobcats snagged three consecutive kills and one Flagler error to give some breathing room. The Bobcats capitalized on the seven Flagler errors in the fifth set and kept the top-ranked Peach Belt team at a four-point distance before hammering the nail into the proverbial coffin and taking the match, 15-10.
Four Bobcat attackers brought their numbers into the double-digits against Flagler. Sophomore Ebony Powers (Jacksonville) barely took the top team spot with 13 kills and a .250 percentage. Sophomore Taylor Svehla (Cumming, Georgia) recorded the top average at an even .400 with 11 kills. Senior Miller Howard (Suwanee, Georgia) and Caroline Long (Roswell, Georgia) tied with 12 kills, averaging .206 and .308 respectively.
Sophomore Kayla Brockway (Jacksonville) had another strong match as starting setter. She aided the Bobcats with 43 assists and 11 digs.
Junior Chandler Ewaldsen (Savannah, Georgia) donned the libero jersey and took 13 defense digs from the five-set battle. Howard also grabbed 11 of her own, making this her fourth double-double for the season.
Georgia College bumped Flagler down from the solo No. 1 spot in the conference to the second-best. The Saints sit behind USC Aiken by two wins. Georgia College's even .500 conference record is good for sixth in the standings behind the 6-6 Lander University Bearcats, 5-3 Augusta University Jaguars and the 6-2 Armstrong State University Pirates. The top-eight teams head to Milledgeville in November for the PBC Tournament.
Bobcats are back in action at home Wednesday, Oct. 26 for the annual Dig Pink match. Georgia College hosts Augusta (13-8, 5-3 PBC) at 7 p.m. in the Centennial Center.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at @GCBobcats on social media for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.