The JSU volleyball team got off to a strong start in the Kennesaw State Invitational this past weekend with two sweeps and only one loss.
The Gamecocks began the tournament against the Tigers of Savannah State. The Gamecocks would score 25 in each of the sets ultimately sweeping SSU in their first match of the season. JSU had an especially impressive third set hitting .526 against the Tigers’ .113.
Emily Rutherford started her senior season off leading the match in kills with eight. Charis Ludtke and newcomer Mackenzie Rombach came behind Rutherford with six apiece. Jennifer Hart picked up where she left off and led both teams in assists with 23. Finals for the match were 25-14, 25-15 and 25-8.
The following day would prove to be more of a challenge for the Gamecocks as they faced the Hornets of Alabama State, then the host Owls of Kennesaw State.
The Gamecocks held the Hornets of ASU to a .57 hit percentage, while JSU hit .370 on the night. They were able to jump out to fast leads in all three sets and never allowed more than 20 points from ASU. It was Ludtke who led with 12 kills in the second match. The Gamecocks had 30 assists against the Hornets, 28 of which came from Hart. Samantha Bohne and Hannah Kirk contributed six digs apiece on defense. The finals for the match were 25-12, 25-20 and 25-10.
After two sweeps in the tournament, the Gamecocks went into the match against the Owls of Kennesaw State with high hopes. Despite their effort, they fell short in all three sets, and ultimately turned up their first loss of the season.
The first match saw the Owls out in front first with two, before the Gamecocks tied it up. KSU would then go on a run that put them ahead by five. By the time the Gamecocks had scored ten, KSU was at 17. The match would end with JSU at 15 and KSU at 25.
The second match again had KSU jump out to a fast lead of four. The Gamecocks were quick though and had tied it at five not long after. The match moved back and forth between the teams, with JSU within one or two. However, they were stopped short at 20 and the Owls would win it with 25.
The final match saw JSU out in front first, but it wouldn’t take long for KSU to tie it up. The score would again go back and forth before JSU reached a stalemate at ten, while the Owls trucked forward. They would go on to score 25 while they held JSU to 15. Rombach proved to be a force as she led in kills with seven, while also having two blocks, an ace and an assist.
The Gamecocks will play in the inaugural Gamecock Invitational this weekend beginning with Alcorn State on Friday, Sept. 4. The event will be played in Centre, Ala. at the Cherokee Center and Arena due to the continuation of renovations at Pete Mathews Coliseum.