The GRU Augusta volleyball team opened the season with a road tournament at the Queens Invitational in Charlotte, N.C., and came away with a 3-1 start.
The Jaguars faced regional opponents Lenoir-Rhyne, Limestone, Catawba and Queens Sept. 5-6. After falling to Lenoir-Rhyne 3-1 the Jaguars bounced back to win the next three matches.
In the Lenoir-Rhyne match the Jaguars won the opening set 25-19, but lost the next three sets for the team’s first loss of the 2014 season.
Head coach Sharon Quarles said her team didn’t play to its full potential against Lenoir-Rhyne. The opening match was an opportunity for the Jaguars to find their identity, and when they got into a rhythm to victories started to pile.
After the losing to Lenoir-Ryne, the Jaguars defeated Limestone in a tight 3-2 finish to close out day one of the Queens Invitational.
During the final day of the tournament the Jaguars came away victorious against Catawba and Queens.
Down early 1-0, the Jaguars rallied against Catawba by winning the next three sets 25-14, 25-20, and 25-18. Senior Kristen Koch (14 kills) and freshman Kali Boatwright (13) led the attack on offense while freshman Sadie Thurston (36 assists) and Cat Desilvester (18 digs) headlined the defense.
The final match against Queens began with a hard fought first set, 28-26, but the Jaguars cruised through the final two sets 25-14 and 25-13. Senior Maggie Darling filled the box score with six kills and five digs and Koch tallied 12 kills.
Now, three days removed from the Queens Invitational, and the Jaguars are trying to improve on passing the ball in free ball situations, Quarles said.
“We can dig the ball very well, but when it was an easy ball coming over the net sometimes we got out of position and we didn’t pass as well,” she said.
Quarles also added that she was impressed by the performance of her four freshman in their first few matches as Jaguars.
“They don’t play like freshman,” Quarles said. “They come out (and) their poised.”
In recognition of her performance in Charlotte, Koch was named to the 2014 Queens Fall Invitational All-Tournament team. The senior captain racked up 62 total kills, 26 digs, nine assist, three blocks and two service aces.
The Jaguars will host the GRU Invitational for its first few home matches of the season Sept. 12-13 at the comfy confines of Christenberry Fieldhouse.