WINGATE, N.C.– Georgia College (17-13) lost an amazing match in five sets to Peach Belt Conference (PBC) opponent USC Aiken (23-4) in the NCAA Southeast Region Semifinal on Friday.
In a match that was back and forth the entire way through, Georgia College just couldn't quite get it right when it mattered most. USCA made a habit of starting strong in every set, and saw themselves with big leads early on in the second, third, and fourth sets. After taking the court by storm and grinding out a first set win behind five kills from Taylor Svehla (Cumming, Georgia) and some impressive blocking, the Bobcats couldn't get the job done in the second set.
USC Aiken looked untouchable at the beginning of the second, but Georgia College's blockers again shut down the Pacer attack and regained the momentum midway through the frame to keep the Bobcats in it. Despite a strong recovery for Georgia College, they were unable to make up the gap and USC Aiken took the second set 25-19.
The third set started out similarly to the second, with USC Aiken holding a 10 point lead at 22-12, but it ended much differently. Georgia College came storming back, capitalizing on mistakes made by a comfortable looking USC Aiken team, and taking every opportunity that came their way. The Bobcats finished the set on a mind-boggling 20-7 run to win the set 31-29 and take a 2-1 lead in the match. In the fourth set, the Pacers once again found themselves with a big lead, and despite seeing another run building from their PBC foe, they held their cool and won the fourth set.
The fifth set was a perfect summary of the match, as it was back and forth right from the start, with several lead changes and momentum swings. Georgia College had the lead at 8-7, but the change of sides midway through the fifth seemed to help out the Pacers. Aiken closed out the match very strong, and won the fifth and final set 15-11.
The Bobcats had four players with double digits in the kills column, led by Svehla with 21, and followed up by Libby Bochniak (Marietta Georgia) with 16, who had another double-double with 11 digs. Emily Crowell (Horseheads, New York) and Emily Pope (Canton, Georgia) each added 12 kills.
Senior setter Kayla Brockway (Jacksonville, Florida) finished off her incredible career at Georgia College with a school record 61 assists, adding 14 digs and two blocks. Jordyn Moellering (Cumming, Georgia) led the team in digs with 26.
"I'm really proud of them for how tough they played and kept their heads in the air," said head coach Gretchen Krumdiek in the post-game interview, "we were battling a lot in that match and I'm just so proud of them."
Georgia College waves goodbye to Kayla Brockway and Taylor Svehla, two outstanding seniors who have been with the program for the past four years, won every award under the sun, and truly embodied the spirit of Georgia College. "Kayla and Taylor have carried us" said an emotional Krumdiek who struggled to talk about the departure of her two stars.
Krumdiek's team has a bright future with a young and experienced roster heading into next season they can be expected to contend in the conference and region yet again.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup and the 2017 PBC Sportsmanship Institution of the Year, 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 Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.