The GRU Augusta volleyball team is hitting the final leg of the regular season with big goals in mind.
After wrapping up a five game road trip, GRU (17-5, 7-4 PBC) is now fourth in the Peach Belt Conference standings. The team went 3-2 during the period, snapping a seven game winning streak by losing its last two matches against Flagler and Armstrong.
GRU lost to Flagler and Armstrong in three straight sets. Senior outside hitter Maggie Darling said the extended period away from home didn’t influence the team’s performance in the losses.
“I‘d say definitely the long trips to Armstrong and Flagler are tough on the bus, but every team deals with that,” Darling said. “I don’t think you could really pin it on being on the road. I think it was just we didn’t show up on that day.”
Despite the recent back-to-back losses, GRU still expects to make a big splash in the postseason.
“(We) fully expect to be hosting the conference (tournament),” head coach Sharon Quarles said. “And we fully expect to get ranked regionally, which comes out in two weeks.”
In order to live up to the standards the team has set for itself it’s important to win their upcoming stretch of home games.
GRU will play its next five games in Christenberry Fieldhouse. Of the next five matches, four will be against PBC teams with legit playoff aspirations: Columbus State (4-5 PBC), Lander (5-5 PBC), USC Aiken (8-3 PBC) and Montevallo (7-3).
“We’re facing teams that are up and down,” Quarles said. “They have been notoriously. But they’re deadly, because you just don’t know if they are going to show up to play.”
GRU will play Columbus State tonight, and Quarles said the team spent an hour watching film to prepare for the match. Apart of the game plan is to block the cross court hit, because CSU scores often with that attack.
The match against CSU and every other remaining conference game will be another piece to the PBC tournament puzzle.
Freshman setter Sadie Thurston said the team is feeling the pressure to win out the rest of the regular season, and will have to play its best team ball from this point forward.
“I think that as long as we stay together and make sure that we reach our goals as a team, then we’ll be okay,” she said.