JSU volleyball: No letdown as Gamecocks follow big Friday win with a Saturday sweep

·4 min read

Oct. 17—JACKSONVILLE — The band wasn't there. Neither was the big-name opponent.

Still, Jacksonville State's volleyball team rolled to another win. A day after defending ASUN volleyball champion Lipscomb, the Gamecocks dispatched Central Arkansas 25-20, 25-16, 25-22 on Saturday afternoon.

The previous night, the school's pep band helped provide a high-energy atmosphere, and the win put the Gamecocks in first place all alone in the ASUN West Division. To stay there, they needed to win Saturday, too, against a UCA team that has struggled at times this season. While the JSU cheerleaders were there to provide support, the band wasn't.

"I told (the team), it was kind of like a trap game because the energy last night was unbelievable," JSU coach Todd Garvey said. "The band was here, and the cheerleaders were super loud, and we were playing a team that's dominated this conference for the last 15 years. I think today everything was set up for us to have a letdown.

"I don't think we had a letdown, but I don't think we had as much energy as we did last night, but I think that's normal with the atmosphere. So I was proud that we stayed focused."

In the end, Central Arkansas (4-13, 2-6 ASUN) was another victim for JSU (17-4, 7-1), which is on an exceptional three-week run. The Gamecocks have won six straight matches, and in that span, they've won 17 straight sets. Of their 17 wins this season, 12 have come by a sweep.

"Until you just said that, I didn't know we had won six games in a row," JSU senior Lena Kindermann said, smiling, "because we try to not look back to the games we've already won. We try to go game by game, and we always look forward to the next game."

The JSU program is coming off two straight Ohio Valley Conference championships, and the Gamecocks did it with laser focus from one match to the next. Now, gunning for a potential ASUN crown, they're working on that same trait.

And not having a letdown against Central Arkansas is a good sign.

"I think one of the biggest things has been our focus. That's probably the biggest thing we've worked on this season and getting our mindset the same for every weekend and treating everyone like it's going to be our hardest match," JSU junior Zoe Gonzales said.

What to know

—Kindermann led the Gamecocks in kills for the third straight match as she compiled 13 against UCA, including five in the third set. She had a .522 hitting percentage.

—Katie Montgomery had a season-high 11 kills and a pair of aces. Addie Halverson and Gonzales each had eight kills.

—Lexie Libs, the setter and one of the primary team leaders, had 42 assists and five digs.

—Erin Carmichael had 13 digs, including seven in the third set as Garvey said the defense stepped up to clinch the win. Anna Nelson had six digs, and Halverson added four.

Who said

—Garvey on the team's defense: "I think offense carried us for most of the match tonight, but I think when defense had to show up there at the end, it did. We've been doing awesome job at defense this year. We've been doing an awesome job at defense. For most of the night tonight, it wasn't as high level as it typically has been till the end when we needed it, and then it picked up."

—Gonzales on how the weekend went: "The team is every excited for how the weekend went, and we're looking forward to next weekend, too. It's going to nice getting a day off (Sunday) and getting our rest, but we're definitely going to be working really hard in practice for next weekend."

Next up

—The Gamecocks have a big weekend set next week at a division crossover event in Jacksonville. They'll play three East Division schools: Jacksonville (4-11, 1-6) on Friday, Liberty (6-8, 2-5) on Saturday, and East leader Florida Gulf Coast (16-4, 8-0) on Sunday.

Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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