VALDOSTA — After compiling a 21-7 record over the course of the 2014 regular season, the Valdosta State volleyball program saw four Blazers earn All-Gulf South Conference honors. In addition, Jessica Codato was named the GSC Player of the Year.
Codato, who is currently serving her second year at the setter position for Valdosta State, led the Blazers to their best regular season effort in over a decade and helped VSU secure their first postseason hosting opportunity in the history of the program. Her numbers in 2014 placed her among the league’s best in assists (1019, 2nd), assists per set (9.70, 2nd), service aces (50, 2nd), and service aces per set (0.48, 2nd).
“I am thrilled!” exclaimed Codato when asked about her achievement. “It’s always a good thing when you see all of the hard work you put in paying off. This wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for this amazing group of people that I’m lucky to share the court and my life with.”
The junior’s unconventional approach as a setter has made her an incredibly valuable weapon for Head Coach Mike Swan. In addition to her ability to set up the team’s big hitters with kill opportunities, Codato has an attack mentality of her own and has tallied 115 kills this season, many of which came when the Blazers needed them most. Heading into the GSC Tournament, she holds a .285 hitting percentage and is averaging 1.10 kills per set. Equally impressive are Codato’s defensive numbers, which place her among the team’s best in both digs (287, 2nd) and blocks (53, 3rd).
Codato was also named to the All-GSC First Team along with middle blocker Destiny Berry, who represents the top blocker in the GSC with 121 blocks on the year and an average of 1.19 blocks per set. Berry has also been the top hitter for the Blazers this season with a hitting percentage of .288 (225 kills, 503 attacks, 80 errors) and an average of 2.21 kills per set.
Second Team All-GSC honors went to seniors Jenna Kirkwood and Ashley Lala. Kirkwood finished the regular season of her senior year ranked second in the GSC in kills with a total of 358, while Lala finished second among all GSC players with a 465 dig total at the libero position. Both seniors will look to continue their impressive senior campaigns entering the first round of the GSC Tournament.
First round action kicks off tomorrow evening at The Complex, as the Blazers welcome the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers to Titletown for a 6:00 p.m. matchup. The contest marks the first postseason volleyball match to ever take place at home for the Valdosta State volleyball program, and the event has been dubbed “Pack the ‘Plex” night, as VSU Athletics makes a push to break the all-time attendance record for a volleyball event at Valdosta State. The attendance record currently stands at 388, a mark which was set in the 2014 season opener on September 5.