Down two sets to one in the last scheduled home match of the season early Saturday evening, Georgia Northwestern volleyball coach Amber Weaver challenged her team during the break to take things one point at a time.
The Lady Bobcats never looked ahead and never trailed again as they ended up scoring a five-set victory over Andrew (Ga.) College, 25-23, 14-25, 16-25, 25-17 and 15-4. It was the first five-setter of the season for the Navy-and-Silver, who salvaged a split of the day’s tri-match.
Georgia Northwestwern opened the day with a 25-16, 25-10, 25-11 loss to Pensacola (Fla.) Christian College, who also handled Andrew College in three sets during the afternoon’s second match.
“We talked about how this was possibly going to be the last home match in this gym with this one group of girls,” said Weaver, recalling her pep talk prior to the fourth set. “I knew they were tired, but I told them that they needed to do something and needed to do it right then.
“They came back out, got off to a good start, got in some serves and rode the momentum. They finished. They fought hard, never gave up and did their jobs.”
Georgia Northwestern jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the fourth set and led by 10 on two separate occasions, the last time at 19-9, before the Fighting Tigers made a run.
The visitors from Cuthbert would slice the gap down to five points, 20-15, with a 6-1 run. However, big block by Mia Clark reestablished control for the Lady Bobcats, who used a final 5-2 run to send the game to a fifth-set tiebreaker.
Catching a second wind, Georgia Northwestern led 8-4 at the change-over and reeled off the final seven points in style behind the serving of Shanna Burk, who capped the victory with an ace.
“We had the serve at the start of the fourth set and our goal was to score first, get a sideout and go on a run,” Weaver explained. “We were just playing it point by point. (Andrew) got it back and I reminded the girls that we were only playing that particular point and not worrying about the next one. We ended up getting a sideout, went on the run and were able to keep the momentum.”
Anna Schorle had a team-high 12 kills in the match to go with a pair of aces. Kayleigh Goff collected seven kills, two aces and 25 digs. Jamese Miller added five kills and two blocks, while Tori Hall had eight kills and 10 digs.
On the defensive side, Morgen Simmons had 27 digs, followed by Jesse Owens with 17 and Burk with 14. Burk also added eight assists. Kaylin Graham had five digs and two assists, while Clark picked up seven assists and a kill.
In the day’s opening contest, Schorle had five kills and Hall had four to go with an ace. Miller recorded three kills and Clark had four blocks and two assists.
Simmons, the libero, finished with 18 digs, followed by Goff with eight and Owens with five.
The event also served as the Lady Bobcats’ annual Pink Games to promote breast cancer awareness and to raise money for charities. Donations and money raised during the event are going to benefit the Mary Ellen Locher Cancer Center of Chattanooga.
Georgia Northwestern (2-16) had been scheduled to play on Monday at Hiwassee College, but that match had to be cancelled by Hiwassee on Sunday afternoon. There has been no decision on if the match will be made up.
The Lady Bobcats are slated to close out the regular season this Friday at Toccoa Falls College (6:30 p.m.).