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Georgetown College volleyball had a lot to figure out this season after graduating six valuable seniors from the 2015 team. The youthful crew did not need much time to establish a new chemistry, working the way up the rankings and eventually being as high as No. 8 for nearly a month. The No. 11 Tigers (29-10) had a streak of 13 straight wins, highlighted by a four-set home victory over then No. 3 Lindsey Wilson College.
Unfortunately a string of tough luck led to a surprising end Thursday afternoon. GC dropped its third match to No. 6 Eastern Oregon University, finishing the 2016 NAIA National Volleyball Championship pool play winless. The Mountaineers (31-2) won Pool F with a 25-16, 25-18, 26-24 win over Georgetown.
"Teams make it to Iowa for a reason and this was a tough year for us here," said GC coach Nick Griffin. "We had a shot and that is all you can ask for. I'm very proud of the overall season we had and the things we accomplished for being so young."
Georgetown College volleyball had four match points for a three-set sweep of College of Coastal Georgia. The Mariners dug in, though, erased all four, won set three and then finished the comeback in a 16-25, 22-25, 31-29, 25-20, 15-12 win Wednesday in Sioux City, Iowa. The loss all but ends the Tigers season. Eastern Oregon sits at 2-0 in Pool F, while Montana Tech and Coastal Georgia are both at 1-1. The latter two meet tomorrow in the last of round robin action and whichever wins will join No. 6 EOU in the round of 16 Friday.
The No. 11 Tigers (29-9) seemed to have it well in hand with a much improved kill to error ratio. However, in the third set the Mariners (30-9) found the push to keep fighting. Set four was a run away and once CG wrangled control in the decisive set five it was all over.
Coastal Georgia made good on its one match point.
Bad news, Georgetown College volleyball was swept in the first match of the NAIA National Volleyball Championships. Good news, it was pool play. The No. 11 Tigers (29-8) must regroup and forge ahead with wins Wednesday and Thursday to hopefully extend their season into Friday's elimination rounds.
GC just never seemed to get a rhythm against No. 24 Montana Tech, falling 27-25, 25-22, 25-14.
Georgetown had its best shot at a momentum swing with a late push in set one. After trailing by five at one point and even four late in the set, the Tigers rallied to tie it at 16 all and eventually push ahead 24-22 for the first set points. MTT (24-9) erased three set points before grabbing its first at 26-25 and then finishing it off for the early match lead.
Georgetown College volleyball punched its ticket to the national final site weeks ago and for the first time since 2009 has enjoyed not being part of this past weekend's opening round held at host sites.
The No. 11 Tigers (29-7) were one of 20 NAIA teams that earned a direct bid to Sioux City, Iowa and next week's final site matches of the 2016 NAIA Volleyball National Championship. Sunday afternoon GC learned all of its pool play opponents.
"We knew going into this past week that No. 6 Eastern Oregon would be part of our pool based on rankings of all teams assured final site bids," said GC coach Nick Griffin. "We were waiting for what happened in the first round matches to determine the final team in our four-team pool."
Coastal Georgia (29-8) defeated St. Andrews (22-15) and No. 24 Montana Tech (23-9) defeated Indiana University South Bend (18-22) for the final spots in Pool F.
Georgetown College and Lindsey Wilson College have played in two NAIA Volleyball Match of the Week games this season. Both proved to be just that, each team winning on their respective home courts. Saturday, in the Mid-South Conference tournament finals, the nationally ranked powerhouses did not disappoint again.
"The championship match lived up to its billing and then some," said GC coach Nick Griffin. "This was the first time our starting line-up had been together in consecutive matches in over a month."
The No. 11 Tigers struck first and the teams continued to trade sets until it came down to the fifth set. The No. 4 Blue Raiders erased a couple of deficits to finally win 22-25, 25-19, 20-25, 25-11, 16-14.