AUGUSTA, Ga. – The 2014 GRU Augusta volleyball team was picked to finish last in the Peach Belt Conference preseason coaches' poll, and they ended up having the best season in school history that culminated with their first trip to the NCAA Tournament as the fourth-seed in the Southeast Region.
The Jaguars posted the best record in program history at 27-9 overall and 13-5 in the PBC. Head Coach Sharon Quarles was voted as the 2014 Coach of the Year on Nov. 14, after she had the most successful season any coach has ever had with the team. The Jags had two seven-game winning streaks and one nine-game winning streak during the 2014 season – highlighted by their 24th win on Nov. 5 against the Georgia College Bobcats, surpassing the previous mark of 23 wins set in the 1995 season.
On Thursday, Nov. 20, the Jags did something that no other Jaguar Volleyball team had done: earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament. In the first round of the Division II Southeast Regional, the fourth-seeded Jags won a 3-2 match over the fifth-seeded Anderson Trojans in the Cuddy Arena on the campus of Wingate University in Wingate, N.C.
They advanced to meet top-seeded and regional-host Wingate in the semifinal. Wingate won the match and eventually claimed their third-straight region title, but not before the Jags did something most couldn't. GRU fell to Wingate 3-1 in the semifinal, but with the one-set win, the Jaguars became the first team to deal Wingate a set loss in tournament play and only their 15th set loss all season.
Freshman Kali Boatwright and senior Kristen Koch were named to the NCAA Southeast Regional All-Tournament Team after they combined for 52 kills over the two regional matches. Koch was also named preseason All-Conference and All-Conference for her play in the league.
Senior Maggie Darling and sophomore Catherine Desilvester also earned PBC All-Academic honors to add to the accolades.
2014 FINAL PEACH BELT CONFERENCE STATS (GRU players)
- Maggie Darling ranked fourth in PBC with 0.41 service aces per set
- Catherine Desilvester ranked third in PBC with 600 digs
- Catherine Desilvester ranked seventh in PBC with 4.29 digs per set
- Kristen Koch ranked fifth in PBC with 394 total kills
- Alyssa Latham ranked 10th in PBC with 7.90 assists per set
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