Augusta, Ga. – The Augusta University Volleyball team defeated to the Lander Bearcats 3-2 today in a conference contest. The Jaguars improve to 24-8 with an 8-4 record in Peach Belt match-ups. The Bearcats move to 18-9 with an 8-4 mark in conference matches.
The Jags were led by Kylie Martin, who registered 19 kills and only three errors of 46 swings for an impressive .348 hitting percentage. Nicolette Ramos laid down 14 kills in the contest, while Chloe Allen picked up 13. Samantha Zittrauer led the squad with 34 assists, while Payton Murchie dished out 22 on the day.
Holland Martin led the defense with 21 digs while Allen and Zittrauer each picked up 10, earning double-doubles in the process.
The Jaguars dominated in the first set from start to finish. Augusta rounded off five points to start the match. After a service ace by K. Martin, the Bearcats took a timeout to try and regroup. Fresh out of the timeout, Lander managed to pull the score within one at 7-6, then Allen drove home three kills in a five point stretch to make it 12-6 halfway through. Augusta continued to pull away as the set progressed, growing the lead to 22-12 in the later stages. Lander started to inch their way back in, but Jessica Hedrick and Zittruaer teamed up to stuff the Bearcat attackers with a devastating block to close out the set 25-17.
Lander bounced back in the second set, edging out the Jaguars 25-20, tying the match at one set apiece.
The third set was a battle of inches, as both teams couldn't establish much of an advantage. The largest advantage either team had was three points, which Augusta accomplished at the end of the set with a 25-22 win. Lander held the lead early in the set, but Ramos drove home a service ace to tie things up. The point trade off continued throughout the set, until Allen managed to shoot an attack past the blockers to give the Jags a late lead. Madison Malloch drove a kill home to seal the set for the Jags and give them a 2-1 lead in the match.
Lander didn't go quietly into the night however, as they fought to force a fifth set, narrowly avoiding defeat with a 25-23 win in the fourth.
Augusta fell behind early in the deciding fifth set, going down 5-1. Allen helped start a comeback, picking up a service ace to spur the home team forward. K. Martin slammed a kill into the hardwood to tie the set up at 6-6, forcing Lander to take a timeout. The Bearcats would score right out of the break, but K. Martin would again come through with another kill to tie it back up. Momentum was starting to go the Jaguar way, as Malloch started a short run of three straight points with her well placed serving. The visitors answered right back though, putting up three unanswered points of their own, taking a 10-9 lead. It looked like Lander had the Jags on their heels, staying one step ahead of Augusta on the next couple points. Then, with things tied up at 11-11, H. Martin rounded off back-to-back aces, deflating the Bearcat sidelines. After a quick timeout by Lander, the Bearcats managed another point to make it a 13-12 set, but Ramos closed the match out with back-to-back kills to send them all home.
With the victory, the Jaguars have cemented their place as the No. 3 seed in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament in Aiken, S.C. Flagler enters the tournament as the No. 1 and co-conference champion with USC Aiken as the No.2. The Bearcats round out the top teams as the No. 4 seed. The Jags have a combined 3-1 record against the top two seeds and hope to use that to their advantage as they prepare for round one of the tournament on Friday November 22nd.