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Georgetown College volleyball had its chances Thursday night, but host Embry-Riddle Aeronautical always found a way to rally in a four-set win. This was the opening match of the three-day ERAU Labor Day Weekend Tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The No. 11 Tigers (0-1) took set one and had large leads in the following two sets, but could not hold them. ERAU had one final late rally in a close set four for the 19-25, 26-24, 27-25, 28-26 win.
Georgetown does not have long to regroup with No. 3 Wayland Baptist as its next opponent 2 pm Friday.
GC held a 17-9 edge in set two win the No. 21 Eagles (1-0) began to rally. Embry-Riddle called a time out and scored the next seven points for a 17-16 set.
Tiger coach Nick Griffin burned his first time out and Georgetown continued to be in control, until a three point rally leveled the set at 20. GC held set point at 24-23, but a kill by Caitlyn Ballard gave the Eagles the ball back. They went on to score two more points and secure set two.
Georgetown responded with an offensive onslaught right out of the gate in set three. The team grabbed a quick 9-1 lead, highlighted by two kills from Lauren Schneidtmiller, two from Allyson Wilbourn and one from Caraline Maher.
ERAU got a couple points back for a 9-4 score. Then the Tigers rolled off five of the next six points for a 14-5 edge. The Eagles hung tough, erasing a few off the nine-point deficit, and at 21-14 made their move.
Three unanswered points made it 21-17 GC and the pressure was mounting. The Tigers responded to stay in front and at 23-18 were two points from taking control of the match again. Embry scored the next six points for a 24-23 edge and first lead of the set. Georgetown responded back, making it 24-24 with the serve. Again it was a trading of sideouts for a 25-all match and Tigers serving as Corri Muha wiped out a set point for ERAU.
Unfortunately, Ella Duggan came up with one of her eight kills for a 26-25 edge and the Eagles served out the set.
The final game was nip and tuck with neither team able to grab more than a three-point edge. Embry erased two Tiger set points, 25-24 and 26-25. Georgetown staved off defeat at 26-25. But, the Eagles sided GC out and served out the match for the win.
The Tigers were led by Maher's 15 kills, while Schneidtmiller chipped in a new career-match high 14 kills and freshman Caroline Ricks had 11. The rookie had the best hitting percentage with a .296 in her first collegiate action. Schneidtmiller hit .243. Maher came on late with a third of her kills coming in the final set.
Another Tiger reached a new match-career high as Lindsey Martindale eclipsed her previous 33 assists with 38 Thursday.