Jags Fall To Top-Seeded Wingate In Regional Semifinal

Jags Fall To Top-Seeded Wingate In Regional Semifinal

WINGATE, N.C. – The GRU Augusta women's volleyball team concluded its greatest season ever with a 3-1 loss to top-seeded Wingate in the NCAA Southeast Regional Semifinal game on Friday night in the Cuddy Arena at Wingate University in Wingate, N.C.

The Wingate Bulldogs ended the Jags (29-7) season with a score of 3-1 (25-8,25-27,25-20,25-19). With the win, Wingate plays Armstrong in the NCAA Southeast Region Championship tomorrow, Nov. 22 at 5:00 p.m. in the Cuddy Arena.

The loss marks the end of two outstanding volleyball careers for seniors Kristen Koch and Maggie Darling.

Early on it looked like the Jags would go quietly as they slipped behind 3-0 early and were never able to recover in set one, losing 25-8. The Jaguars were able to get consecutive points just once, posting a -.212 attack percentage as the early jitters were evident as the Jags were facing the top-seeded team in the region.

The Jaguars once again found themselves down, facing a 5-1 deficit early in set two, but like they've done all season long they found a way and rallied. A service ace by freshman Kali Boatwright tied the match at seven. The teams rallied back and forth until Wingate got to match point, 24-23. GRU Head Coach Sharon Quarles called a key timeout, and it would eventually pay off.

Senior Maggie Darling and Kristen Koch would put the Jaguars up 25-24 thanks to two impressive kills, but Wingate tied it up at 25-all. GRU Augusta was finally able to finish off Wingate 27-25 in set two, thanks to a pair of kills from the freshman-senior combo of Paige Elliott and Maggie Darling. With the set win, the Jaguars became the first team to deal Wingate a set loss in tournament play and gave Wingate just their 15th set loss all season.

Wingate held a slight advantage in set three leading 12-7 and 19-14.  The Jaguars fought back winning five of the next six points and pulled within just one point, after a kill from Senior Kristen Koch made it 20-19. The Bulldogs turned it on closing out the match 25-20, thanks to four straight points and a service ace to complete set three.

The Bulldogs once again got off to an early lead in set four with leads of 10-4 and 13-5. Down 18-9, the Jaguars were able to rally off three straight points to pull to 18-12. One more surge gave the Jags three points in a row and made the score 23-18 thanks to a Wingate error and kills from junior Katie Beresford and Boatwright. In the end, Wingate was able to close out set four and the match 25-19.

Freshman Paige Elliott posted an incredible .450 attack percentage with a career-best 13 kills and just four errors. She added 1.5 blocks. Boatwright had eight kills and one ace. Senior's Kristen Koch and Maggie Darling finished their careers with seven and six kills, respectively. Koch ends the year ranked fifth in the league in kills, while Darling ranks fourth in service aces.

Shelly Stumpff led the way for Wingate posting 14 kills, two service aces and a .414 attack percentage. Lexi Potter added 12 kills, one service ace and a .522 attack percentage.  Abby Saehler and Susie Murach both posted 10 kills and an identical .421 attack percentage.

The Wingate Bulldogs posted a .400 attack percentage for the match to the Jaguars .168 attack percentage, a statistic that proved to be the difference.

Semifinal Match 1 Recap (Armstrong vs. Carson-Newman)


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