By Corry Mulligan – Sports Writer |
The Samford Bulldogs volleyball team squared off against Georgia Southern and Davidson at home this weekend in two significant SoCon matchups.
On Saturday, Samford faced a formidable Georgia Southern team that, like Samford, had lost only one conference match thus far.
The Bulldogs stunned the Eagles by taking an early two-set lead, winning 25-16 and 25-20.
It looked as if the Dogs would close out this match in three sets, as they gained a 15-9 advantage in the third set.
Georgia Southern had different plans, however, and went on a 6-2 run to tighten Samford’s lead to 17-15.
With the score tied at 20-20 later in the match, the Eagles closed out the set with a 5-1 run to win 25-21.
The Bulldogs started off slow in the fourth set, but battled back and eventually matched the visitor’s score at 15-15.
Unfortunately, this comeback effort was not enough as the Eagles went on to win this nail-biting set, 25-23.
“We dictated the first two games but didn’t really respond once they started pushing us,” said senior exercise science major Alexis Bauer.
Suddenly, Samford was in danger of losing a heartbreaker on its home court.
The Bulldogs fought hard for every point and found themselves in a 5-5 tie early in the fifth set.
Unfortunately, that was as close as the Bulldogs would get, eventually dropping the fifth set 15-8 and match 3-2.
Despite the loss, five players contributed at least 10 digs, with Bauer’s 27 leading the way.
Sophomore journalism and mass communication major Michaela Reesor led the squad with 18 kills and added 16 digs for her second consecutive double-double and sixth of the season.
Junior exercise science major Katie Murphy played an outstanding game as well.
Her play washighlighted by 17 kills and four solo blocks which moved her into seventh all-time in solo blocks in school history.
The Bulldogs had to quickly put their Saturday loss behind them and prepare to face the Davidson Wildcats the next day.
“Davidson is not quite as big and physical, but they are still a very good team,” head coach Derek Schroeder said on Saturday. “We have to serve the ball a little better and get some passing reps in and go from there.”
The first three sets of this match looked eerily similar to the first three the day before, with Samford capturing the first two but losing the third 25-23.
After letting Georgia Southern steal a win the day before, the Bulldogs were determined to close this match out in four sets.
“Losing in our home gym is always something that can light a fire,” Bauer said. “I think that’s enough motivation to take care of business.”
Samford did just that, cruising to a 25-12 victory to win the match 3-1 in what was a special day for one Bulldog.
Senior exercise science major Elizabeth Neisler recorded 11 kills to move into third all-time in Samford history with 1,249 career kills.
Murphy led the squad with a career-best 21 kills on 34 swings for a terrific .588 attack average, and Reesor increased her double-double streak to three games with 17 kills and 16 digs.
Senior fitness and health promotion major Casey Garvey led the team in assists with 56, and Bauer racked up 22 digs to lead the Samford defense.
The Bulldogs travel to Spartanburg, S.C. this Sunday to face the Wofford Terriers at 2 p.m.