GRU Augusta (24-7, 13-5 PBC) recorded its highest number of regular season wins in program history after defeating Georgia College in three straight sets (25-16, 25-15, 25-20) at home on senior night Wednesday.
The 2014 season has been a milestone year for GRU in more ways than one. Its strong overall record has GRU ranked fourth in the Division II Southeast Region volleyball poll. This is the highest the program has ever been regionally ranked since 1985 when they were in the Big South Conference.
“This entire season, from the first match to where we are currently, has just been a working progress,” GRU head coach Sharon Quarles said. “(The players) are doing it, we’re just guiding the ship”
GRU also accomplished its best winning percentage ever by topping the 2002 team that went 22-12 (.647).
Before the start of the GC match, GRU Augusta Athletics recognized senior outside hitters Maggie Darling and Kristen Koch with a special ceremony. Then GRU went on to shutout GC for its seventh win in a row.
Koch scored the first point of the game in an easily won first set. Late in the first GRU was up 16-13, before going on a 9-3 run to take the match lead.
GC took a 2-1 lead off a couple of GRU errors to start second set, but couldn’t hold it for long. Freshman Kali Boatwright scored a point to give GRU a 7-5 advantage, and the team controlled the remainder of set two.
On the brink of losing the match, GC came out of intermission with an aggressive attack. GC battled back and forth with GRU, and was down 23-20 toward the end of the third set.
An attack error by GC’s Katie Ray gave GRU set point, ad Boatwright landed a service ace to complete the sweep.
GRU put on a great defense performance by totaling 15 blocks, and made it difficult for GC to penetrate its front row. In their last regular season game at Christenberry Fieldhouse, Darling racked up seven kills and Koch added four kills and two service aces.
After the match Koch said she was proud of her team’s ability to play to its full potential
“It’s hard to play a team that’s not going to give us much of a challenge, but that’s where we have to challenge ourselves,” she said. “We have to make sure that we continue to play at our level, and not play down to theirs.”
The victory against GC was the last PBC match of the regular season for GRU. The team is third in the conference with the potential to move up if USC Aiken drops a conference match.
“Conference wise we did all we could do,” Quarles said. “Now it’s just watching the other conference teams play out their matches.”
GRU will travel to Spartanburg S.C., Saturday for two regional matches against Belmont Abbey and Converse to finish out the regular season. Afterwards, the PBC tournament will commence Nov.11.