Blazer Volleyball Loses to West Florida, 3-1

| September 18, 2014
Jenna Kirkwood finished with her second double-double of the season in Tuesday night's loss to the nationally ranked Argonauts

Jenna Kirkwood finished with her second double-double of the season in Tuesday night’s loss to the nationally ranked Argonauts

PENSACOLA, FL – The Valdosta State Blazer volleyball team put up a convincing defensive effort against No. 18 West Florida in Gulf South Conference play on Tuesday night in Pensacola, Fla., but a talented Argonaut squad used a balanced attack to outlast the Blazers with a 3-1 (25-18, 25-23, 22-25, 25-15) win.

The Blazers fell to 4-2 overall, 1-2 in GSC play following the loss, while the Argonauts remained undefeated on the year, as they improved to 9-0 overall, 3-0 against league opponents.

Points were difficult to come by all evening long for both squads, but the match swayed in favor of the Argonauts thanks in large part to stellar hitting performances in the first and fourth sets. Additionally, UWF established an overwhelming presence at the net in the match with a 12 block total that helped hold the Blazers to a .099 hitting percentage.

Though Valdosta State cut the deficit to two at 12-10 midway through the first frame, the Argonauts put together a strong offensive performance in the set with a .455 team hitting percentage. The effort allowed UWF to remain in control throughout the entirety of the set and cruise to a 25-18 win for an early 1-0 lead.

Defense was the story of a thrilling second set, with both teams fighting for points throughout. The Blazers nipped at the Argos’ heels for the entirety of the frame and forced a late 23-23 tie before West Florida closed out the set with a kill by UWF outside hitter Corisha Smith, followed by a block by Sarah Scott and Holly Mattmuller on a Lea Jaklen attack attempt.

In the third set, the Blazers controlled the first half with a combination of strong defense and a number of timely kills to take a 12-10 lead. UWF clawed their way back midway through the frame, however, to tie the set up at 14-14. The two teams matched each other point for point leading up to a 20-20 stalemate, before the Blazers came alive to strike for a decisive 5-2 run. The late surge in the set was highlighted by two strong kills from Jenna Kirkwood, who led the Blazers on the night with an.

Seeking to close out their home opener in the UWF fieldhouse, the Argonauts vanquished the Blazers in the fourth and final set and never trailed. A .222 hitting performance, led by Cora Bidlack’s four kills, helped UWF claim a clinching 25-15 win.

Despite the loss, the Blazers saw promising performances from several players, including freshman Sydney Chick, who continuously kept the Blazers alive with a team-leading 16 digs in the contest. In addition, Kirkwood notched her second double-double of the year with 20 kills and 10 digs on the night.

Senior Destiny Berry delivered the most efficient offensive effort of the night from the middle blocker position with nine kills in 20 attempts for an average of .250. She also added six blocks on defense.

Blazer volleyball returns to The Complex on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. to host GSC opponent Union. The match is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.. For all things Blazer volleyball, be sure to stay tuned to www.vstateblazers.com, like us on facebook, and follow us on Twitter @BlazerAthletics.

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