Pirate South/Southeast Volleyball Challenge: Day Two Wrapup
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The host and No. 23-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University volleyball squad emerged as the only team unscathed after the final day of action at the 2011 South/Southeast Pirate Challenge, winning twice on Saturday in Savannah.
The Pirates (12-0) knocked off Valdosta State, 3-0, and No. 24 Rollins, 3-0, to finish the weekend with an unbeaten 3-0 mark. Flagler, meanwhile, split matches to finish 2-1 on the weekend, losing a 3-1 decision to No. 21 North Alabama, but rebounding for a 3-1 win over Valdosta State. North Alabama also knocked off USC Aiken, 3-2, to finish .500 on the weekend and Rollins also finished .500 after a 3-1 win over USC Aiken.
In the early morning matches, the host Pirates hit .333 as a team in downing the Blazers, 25-21, 25-19, 25-18. Junior Amanda Jones hit .571 with a team-high 14 kills to lead the Pirates, while junior Ashley Seal notched 34 assists and added four blocks. Valdosta's Chelsea Logan led teh Blazers with 14 kills.
No. 24 Rollins placed four players in double digit kills in the Tars' 23-25, 25-11, 25-22, 25-12 win over USC Aiken, led by Collyn Welsch's 14 kills and Jessica Wilson's 13 kills. Megan Hodges and Kelly Merideth each added 12 kills and Phoebe Corder notched 25 digs.
No. 21 North Alabama rebounded from its pair of losses on Friday with a 27-25, 26-28, 25-17, 25-23 win over Flagler on Saturday morning. Natalie Marsh led a quartet of Lions with 20 kills and a .321 hitting percentage, while Priscilla Massengale added 15 kills. Crystal Niederriter led the Saints with 17 kills and a .469 hitting percentage.
In the afternoon matches, the Pirates got 10 kills and 14 digs from sophomore Jessica Santaniello and 12 kills from Amanda Jones in winning its second straight over a nationally-ranked team, downing Rollins 26-24, 25-21, 25-22. Ashley Seal added 31 assists for the Pirates, while Rollins was led by 10 kills apiece from Hodges and Merideth.
Flagler downed Valdosta State, 25-19, 19-25, 25-18, 25-16, to finish the weekend above .500. Sophie Meyer led the Saints by hitting .484 with 16 kills, while Niederriter hit .409 with 11 kills and Casey Gnann tallied 24 digs. Katie Onushko led the the Blazers with 17 kills.
The final match of the Classic saw No. 21 North Alabama erase a 13-8 deficit in the fifth set to pull out a 20-25, 25-17, 17-25, 25-19, 25-13 win over USC Aiken. Marsh had four kills in the last seven points of the fifth set, part of her match-high 23 kills to lead the Lions, while Shannon Byers led the Pacers with 18 kills and 20 digs.
The 2011 South/Southeast Pirate Challenge All-Tournament team is listed below. No. 23 Armstrong returns to action on Friday, September 23, visiting Montevallo for its Peach Belt Conference opener at 7:00 p.m. in Montevallo, Ala.
OH Amanda Jones - Armstrong
OH Jessica Santaniello - Armstrong
Lib Casey Gnann - Flagler
MB Crystal Niederriter - Flagler
OH Natalie Marsh - North Alabama
OH Megan Hodges - Rollins
OH Katie Onushko - Valdosta State
Lib Samantha Lukralle - USC Aiken