Georgia Sweeps, Goes to 8-0 on Day 1 of Georgia Challenge

  0 Braden Keith | September 09th, 2016 | ACC, College - Women's Indoor, Division I Mid-Major, News, SEC

Match Stats:

The Georgia women’s volleyball team pushed their season schedule to 8-0 on Thursday with 3-0 sweeps in their first two matches of the 2016 Georgia Challenge in Atlanta.

Georgia first topped Kennesaw State in their morning match with set results of 25-20, 25-21 and 27-25; and then Georgia State by scores of 25-21, 25-17 and 25-21.

The nightcap included holding the now 3-5 GSU team to just .028 hitting.

The Bulldogs will get their biggest challenge of the season yet on Friday when they face the invite hosts from Georgia Tech, who now sit at 6-2 after picking up the same two victories on Thursday in the reverse order, though their road was dicier.

In their morning game, GT was a bit flat-footed to open, but recovered to comfortably top Georgia State 25-19, 25-21, 25-15.

In their second match, Tech almost gave Kennesaw State their second victory of the season, but were able to close out the 5th set 15-9 to take a 3-2 match win. The set scores for the Jackets were 25-21, 25-27, 24-26, 25-10, and the deciding 15-9 as the home team heated up later in the evening.

Press Releases:

Courtesy Georgia Athletics:

ATLANTA — With a pair of sweeps over Kennesaw State (1-7) and Georgia State (3-5), the Georgia volleyball team stays undefeated on the year, improving to an 8-0 record and continue its best start since 2010.

“Two good matches under our belt today in the Georgia Challenge,” said head coach Lizzy Stemke. “In both matches our blocking efforts at the net were very solid, and at end of sets we kept great composure and finished strong. We now rest up and look ahead to Georgia Tech.”

Georgia earned the morning win over KSU with scores of 25-20, 25-21 and 27-25. Maddie Lobenstein and Caroline Ostman each posted double-doubles, which was the first of Ostman’s career. Both players notched 11 kills while Lobenstein had 13 digs and Ostman 11.

Current SEC Freshman of the Week Meghan Donovan played well all-around versus KSU, totaling 36 assists, eight digs, seven blocks and four kills. Desiree McCray also had seven blocks, helping Georgia outblock the Owls 13-6.

Lobenstein put together another strong performance in the late game, making it five double-doubles on the year with 11 kills and 11 digs to go with four service aces and a pair of blocks. The defense held GSU to a .028 hitting mark, as along with Lobenstein, Cassidy Anderson and Elle McCord had double-digit dig efforts with 11 and 10, respectively. Majesti Bass led the front line for the fourth time this season with seven total blocks.

The Bulldogs had to come back late in the first and third set for the wins after falling behind to the Panthers 20-18, but used long scoring runs to secure the sweep at 25-21, 25-17 and 25-21.

Georgia closes out the week with in-state rival and host-school Georgia Tech on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. Links to live stats as well as the broadcast on ACC Network Extra can be found on

HOW TO FOLLOW GEORGIA VOLLEYBALL: For complete information on Georgia volleyball, follow the team on its social media channels via @UGAVolleyball on Twitter and Instagram and UGAVolleyball on Facebook and Snapchat.

Courtesy Georgia Tech Athletics:

THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech volleyball team (5-2) swept Georgia State (3-4) in the Yellow Jackets’ home opener as part of the Georgia Challenge at O’Keefe Gym.

How It Happened
The Jackets rebounded from a 7-2 deficit with eight straight points to take a 10-7 lead thanks to the aggressive serving by Lauren Pitz with three aces and Tech’s blocking at the net in game one. The momentum stayed in Tech’s favor with the Jackets winning 25-19.

Down 8-7 in game two, Georgia Tech scored four straight points to take an 11-8 lead.  The Jackets kept their foot on the gas pedal and won the set 25-21 capped off with a kill by Gabriela Stavnetchei.

With an 18-15 advantage in game three, the Jackets scored the final seven points of the game to win the set 25-15 and the match 3-0.

“It was a slow start, but I think we kept getting better,” head coach Michelle Collier said. “I think we stayed focused on the things we needed to do. We kept getting better after every set and every point. I think we finished out playing some pretty good volleyball, so that was good to carry over to tonight.”

Quick Hits
– The Jackets haven’t lost a set to Georgia State since Oct. 19, 2004.
– Teegan Van Gunst tallied nine kills and led the back row with 12 digs, while Annika Van Gunst and Gabriela Stavnetchei recorded eight kills each.
– Stavnetchei put up 10 digs.
– Tech out-hit the Panthers .315 to .167

What’s Next
The Jackets take on Kennesaw State tonight at 7 p.m. on the ACC Network Extra

Follow Along
For the latest information on the Georgia Tech volleyball team, follow us on Twitter (@GTVolleyball), Instagram (GTVolleyball), Facebook (Georgia Tech Volleyball) or visit us at

THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech volleyball team (6-2) outlasted the Kennesaw State Owls (1-8) in a five-set thriller on Friday night at O’Keefe Gym.

How It Happened
The Owls were fast out of the gate with a 5-1 lead in the opening frame. Georgia Tech went to work and went ahead 7-6 on a block by Sydney Wilson and Gabriela Stavnetchei. Tied 17-17, the Jackets took a 23-17 and were able to close out the set 25-21.

Set two provided to be a battle with marathon rallies and several second chance plays.  The Jackets through the entire set, but Kennesaw State got within one point late in the game 22-21 and then tied it 23-23. Kennesaw State gained its first lead of the set 25-24 and completed the comeback to win 27-25.

Tied 7-7, Kennesaw State went on a 4-0 rally to gain an 11-7 advantage. Down 17-15, two kills and a solo block by Stavnetchei tied it at 17-17, and a kill by Teegan Van Gunst gave Tech its first lead of the game 18-17. The Owls regrouped and came back from a 23-20 deficit to take game three, 26-24.

The Jackets wasted little time in game four. At 16-10, Tech scored nine-straight points to win the game 25-10 and force a fifth frame.

Georgia Tech took an 8-4 lead into the switch in game five. The Jackets did not let up and finished the match strong with a 15-9 fifth-set victory.

“I think we stayed patient,” head coach Michelle Collier said. “Kennesaw State was playing some great defense. We were taking some really good swings and they were keeping the ball alive. I think we stayed resilient and we starting terminating a little bit better from our side of the court to control the game.”

Quick Hits
– Freshman Kodie Comby had a season-high 12 kills
– Teegan tallied her fifth double-double of the season with 17 kills and 18 digs
– Gabriela Stavnetchei put up her second career double-double with 16 kills and 19 digs
– London Ackermann added 26 digs
– Annika Van Gunst and Ashley Askin each had seven kills, while Lauren Pitz added six kills on .545 hitting

What’s Next
The Jackets take on Georgia to wrap up the Georgia Challenge at 7 p.m. on Friday on the ACC Network Extra.

Follow Along
For the latest information on the Georgia Tech volleyball team, follow us on Twitter (@GTVolleyball), Instagram (GTVolleyball), Facebook (Georgia Tech Volleyball) or visit us at

Courtesy Kennesaw State Athletics:

Score: Kennesaw State 2, Georgia Tech 3 (21-25, 27-25, 26-24, 10-25, 9-15)
Records: Kennesaw State (1-8), Georgia Tech (6-2)
Key Players:  Anaiah Boyer (12 kills, 13 digs), Kelly Marcinek (12 kills), Katarina Morton (27 digs)

Box Score (PDF) | Box Score (XML)

Score: Kennesaw State 0, Georgia 3 (20-25, 21-25, 25-27)
Records: Kennesaw State (1-7), Georgia (7-0)
Key Players: Anaiah Boyer (13 kills, 12 digs), Katarina Morton (21 digs)

Box Score (PDF) | Box Score (XML)

· Kennesaw State pushed Georgia Tech to its limits in a five-set match in the Georgia Challenge. After dropping the opening set, KSU battled back winning the next two sets in extra points, but Tech responded in a great atmosphere in O’Keefe Gymnasium to win the final two sets. With the loss to Tech, Kennesaw State was 0-2 on the day after falling to Georgia earlier in the day.

Georgia Tech Match: The first set was a back and forth affair until late when it was tied at 17 and the Yellow Jackets used a 6-0 run to get some separation. The deficit was too much to overcome for the Owls as they went down one set.

In the second set, Georgia Tech took control early and continued to build a lead that grew as many as seven at 21-14. With their backs against the wall, Kennesaw State responded with a 7-1 run to get within one of the lead. In the run, Sydni Shelton had four kills giving the Owls momentum. After spoiling a set point, KSU won the final two points to even the match up at one going into the break.

The Owls came out in the third set riding the wave of momentum they picked up at the end of the second and stormed out to a 6-2 lead. Tech went on a run of their own to get back in the set and took a late 23-20 lead, but KSU showed their resiliency once again going on a 6-1 run to take the set 26-24 and the lead in the match 2-1.

After dropping the fourth set, Kennesaw State fell down early in the match and tried to get back in it, but the Yellow Jackets wouldn’t be denied in front of their home crowd sealing the match in five.

Georgia Match: In the first match of the day, the Owls couldn’t get going against Georgia. The Bulldogs took control of the match early and went up 2-0. KSU tried to get it going in the third set, but UGA clinched the match in extra points in the third set.

“We made a huge step forward tonight in how we approach competing against good teams, how we approach the rest of our non-conference schedule and how we approach consistently competing at a high level. We knew going into the season that our non-conference schedule would have plenty of challenges. Tonight in Tech’s gym, we stepped up against a really good team in a very tough environment. We played with the mentality and the edge that we need to play with to be successful. I really like what I saw tonight, and it shows me that we’re growing into who we need to be on the court to be successful.”

· Anaiah Boyer had two double-doubles today giving her three on the season. In the first match against Georgia, she had 13 kills and 12 digs and against Georgia Tech she had 12 kills and 13 digs.
Katarina Morton finished with the day with 27 digs against Georgia Tech and 21 digs against Georgia. She has 20-plus digs in seven of the team’s nine matches this season.
Kelly Marcinek reached double-figure kills for the first time this season finishing with 12. She is the career leader in kills in the ASUN.
– Tonight against the Yellow Jackets, KSU had three players in double-figures with kills and four players in double-figures with digs.

Kennesaw State has one more match in the Georgia Challenge against Georgia State on Friday, September 9 at 3 p.m. in O’Keefe Gymnasium at Georgia Tech.

To keep up with the latest Kennesaw State volleyball news follow the team on Twitter @KSUOwlNation and @KSUOwlsVB or by liking Kennesaw State University on Facebook.

Courtesy Georgia State Athletics:

Match 1: Georgia Tech 3, GSU 0

ATLANTATraveling less than two miles from campus, the Georgia State volleyball team fell to Georgia Tech 3-0 on Thursday afternoon in the opener for both teams of the Georgia Challenge at O’Keefe Gym. The Yellow Jackets swept the match by scores of 25-19, 25-21 and 25-15.

Georgia State (3-4) lost its third-straight match, while Georgia Tech improved to 5-2, snapping a two-match losing streak.

Senior Eliza Zachary led the Panthers with nine kills and a .333 attack percentage, while sophomoreCrystal Lee added eight kills. Sarah Renner added 28 assists and five digs for Georgia State.

Georgia Tech was led by Teegan Van Gunst who just missed a double-double with nine kills and 12 digs. Gabriela Stavnetchei added eight kills and 10 digs for the Yellow Jackets.

Behind strong serving from senior Kristina Stinson, Georgia State opened the first set with six-straight points to take an early 6-0 lead. Tech stormed back, taking an 8-7 lead before head coach Sally Polhamusused her first timeout of the match. The Yellow Jackets continued to pull away earning a 25-19 first set win.

Anna Rantala and Zachary led the Panthers with three kills a piece during the opening frame, but eight attack errors by GSU proved too much to overcome. Tech was led by four kills each from Annika Van Gunst and Stavnetchei as the Yellow Jackets hit .258.

On an ace by Zachary, Georgia State took its first lead of the second set at 8-7 after two previous ties. After trailing by as many as five on three occasions, a kill by Stinson cut the Yellow Jackets lead to 19-16. On a kill by Lee, the Panthers cut the deficit to two, 21-19, forcing Georgia Tech to call its first timeout of the match. After the timeout, Tech won four of the final six points to take the second set 25-21.

Lee led the Panthers with four kills as Renner dished out 11 assists. Teegan Van Gunst paced the Yellow Jackets with five kills on nine attempts.

Despite five ties early in the third set, Georgia Tech started to build a lead, reaching four points on multiple occasions, including 15-11 and 16-12, before pushing away to take the final set, 25-15.

Georgia Tech finished the match outhitting the Panthers .315 to .167, garnering eight service aces.

Georgia State will play its second match of the Georgia Challenge at O’Keefe Gym on the campus of Georgia Tech on Thursday evening at 5 p.m. against Georgia. The tournament will conclude for the Panthers on Friday facing Kennesaw State at 3 p.m.

Match 2: UGA 3, GSU 0

ATLANTA – In the afternoon cap of the doubleheader, Georgia State volleyball got off to a fast start, but went on to lose the match 3-0 to Georgia and fell to 3-5 on the season. The Bulldogs took the match with scores of 25-21, 25-17 and 25-21.

The Panthers and Bulldogs went back and forth with the score tied several times during the first five points of the match. A UGA service error made it 8-7 Panthers and GSU led all the way until 20-17 on Katelyn Rawls’ back-to-back kills.

From there, the Bulldogs went on an 8-1 run to take the first frame of the match. Anna Rantala led the charge with 5 first-set kills. GSU had a balanced defensive effort with Kristina Stinson, Kaitlyn Dachs andSarah Renner combining for 11 digs. Maddie Lobenstein and Caroline Ostman paced the attack for the Bulldogs in the first.

UGA kept its distance from GSU in the second frame thanks to Maddie Lobenstein’s attacking play. Rawls’ kill count rose to four and Stinson added the same total in the set. The Panthers couldn’t cut the lead to below six at 22-16 as the Bulldogs kept their distance. Georgia went on to take the set 25-17.

The Panthers had a lot of fight left in them for the third and final set. Head coach Sally Polhamus was pleased with how hard the team fought for the entire match. At one point, GSU led 18-14 on two Eliza Zachary aces. UGA bounced back with an 11-3 run to close out the match, with Lobenstein and Kendall Kazor taking it home for the Bulldogs.

Rantala kept GSU close with her nine kills. Celeste Friesen and Stinson controlled match tempo with 19 combined digs on the match. Sarah Renner, who surpassed 200 kills on the season earlier in the day, led in assists again with 17.

Georgia State will look to get back to its winning ways tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. against the Kennesaw State Owls in the Georgia Challenge finale.

Follow along with Georgia State on Twitter (@GeorgiaStateVB) for the latest news.



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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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