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Georgetown College volleyball stormed out, catching No. 13 Park University off guard in the 2013 NAIA Volleyball National Championship, presented by J&L Enterprises and CNOS Foundation Pool Play B. However, No. 12 Tigers (34-9) needed a decisive set after the Pirates (34-6) erased a 2-0 deficit to settled the matter 25-19, 25-22, 10-25, 22-25, 15-11.
"We knew this would be a challenge," said GC coach Nick Griffin. "I think the quick two set lead put us at ease, but we battled back and got a very important win to start this week off."
A point of emphasis in success against Park was shutting down the nation's leading hitter Wanesse Siqueira. The junior is averaging 4.5 kills per game and was 15 shy of tallying 600 in this season alone. Georgetown held her to just 12 kills in five sets – a 2.4 kill per set average. She had two kills in set one, while hitting negative percentage – a first this season. Starting with the month of October, the Rio de Janeiro native is averaging 17.1 kills per match.
"We knew she was a solid offensive force and in order to contain the offense we needed to do our best to contain her," Griffin said. "They have a phenomenal setter and the system runs a lot through those two."
The Tigers proved pretty potent on offense as well roaring out with a .324 team hitting percentage behind a .625 from Caraline Maher. The junior had five of her 12 kills in the first set. Park came to life in the third set with its back to the wall. It held Georgetown to a 0.00 hitting percentage while exploding for .409 as a team. Siqueria only had one kill that set oddly enough.
Set four was a seesaw battle, but the Tigers struggled to hold their own serve and allow themselves the opportunity to climb out of a hole.
Best way to avoid needing to make the comeback, start strong. That is what GC did in the shortened fifth set. The team wasted no time and put up a 3-0 advantage it never relinquished. The Pirates got as close as two, 11-9, but could never bridge the gap.
Rachel Eubanks had a team-high 15 kills with a .379 hitting percentage. Kathryn Smith had some timely kills, tallying nine on the day, while Corri Muha and Allyson Wilbourn chipped in with eight.
The team collectively recorded 16 blocks led by Maher's five and Emily Weber's four. Lindsey Martindale and Stephanie Gurren ran the offense with 28 and 20 assists respectively. Courtney Grafton continued to be the anchor on defense with 22 digs.
The top two teams from each of the six pools will advance to Friday's elimination round. Georgetown has two more games in the round robin portion. Concordia was the other winner Tuesday in Pool B. The Tigers face Trinity Christian 4:15 pm Wednesday, looking for a 2-0 standing to solidify a top spot. The Trolls (37-8) will be looking to bounce back from a three-set loss to Concordia and level their record with GC in vying for a top spot.
These two teams met back in September in the Rumpke Invitational. Georgetown won the regular season match in straight sets, 25-22, 25-20, 25-15.
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