STATESBORO, Ga. --- The Georgia Southern volleyball team was unable to overcome a slow start and fell 3-1 (30-28, 26-24, 23-25, 25-23) to Chattanooga Saturday at Hanner Fieldhouse.
The Lady Mocs win their Southern Conference opener and improve to 6-9 overall. The Eagles drop to 7-9 and 1-1.
“I thought that we had absolutely no focus or discipline to start the match and that’s really what it comes down to,” said GSU head coach Chad Callihan. “When you beat a team statistically and we outhit a team by 40 points and lose the match. That’s just not supposed to happen. We outblocked them 12 to six. We just weren’t able to maintain consistency – 15 service errors, untimely hitting errors. I can remember four opportunities where we had an opportunity to serve to take the lead and missed all four of those serves. We really weren’t giving ourselves a chance to push ahead. But give credit to Chattanooga, they’re a scrappy team. But when you’re ahead statistically like that you’re supposed to win the match.”
Georgia Southern held a .185 to .144 advantage in hitting percentage and a 12 to six margin in blocking.
GSU battled back from a 10-5 deficit in set one and a 19-11 deficit in set two to eventually take the lead but were unable to close either frame out. The Eagles had set points in both games.
“It was exactly what we talked about with the Davidson match where we put pressure on them,” said Callihan. “I think the only difference was Wednesday we were putting pressure on Davidson, today I felt like we put pressure on ourselves. I don’t think it was any one thing that Chattanooga did to separate themselves from us, I just think we weren’t ready to play. The errors we made were at critical times and that cost us.”
The Lady Mocs had four players record double-figure kills, led by Courtney Barnes who totaled 15 on a .400 attack percentage. Lara Newberry recorded a match-high 34 digs and Cassie Connor had 49 assists.
For the Eagles, freshman Bethany Sanford (Avondale, Ariz.) tallied a team-high 16 kills while sophomore Michelle Uzoh (San Antonio, Texas) posted 10 and nine block assists.
GSU returns to the court Sunday to take on Samford at 2 p.m.