Falcons end season with loss to Augusta State in conference tournament

Published 1:14 pm Friday, November 16, 2012


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The University of Montevallo volleyball team made a late comeback effort but couldn’t overcome a slow start in a 3-1 loss to Augusta State University in a Peach Belt Conference tournament quarterfinal match Nov. 16 on the Flagler College campus.

The Falcons, the No. 4 seed in the Peach Belt Conference tournament, dropped the first two sets against No. 5 seed Augusta State 25-23 and 25-23 before storming back to capture the third set 25-14. Augusta State closed out the match with a 25-22 win in the fourth set.

Junior Michelle Carle led Montevallo (15-17) with 14 kills in the match. Carle also posted three blocks.

Fellow junior Manyi Ati added 13 kills and four blocks. Senior Jordan Spinks contributed 12 kills and three blocks, while sophomore Michelle Walker rounded a quartet of players with double-digit kills with 11 kills.

Junior Kaleigh Harvey finished with a career-high five service aces to go along with a team-high 27 digs in the match. Sophomore Brianna Guzinski added 11 digs.

Freshman Briana Marquez contributed a team-high 25 assists and seven digs, while senior Betsy Stevenson posted 19 assists and five digs.

Augusta State opened the first set with a 9-6 run. The Falcons responded with a 6-2 run to take a 12-11 lead following a block by Walker and a service ace by Marquez.

The Jaguars responded with a 6-0 run to take back the momentum. Spinks cut the deficit to 17-14 with a kill, but another quick 4-0 spurt by Augusta State allowed the Jaguars a little breathing room.

Montevallo went on a 4-0 run late in the set, capped with a kill by Walker, to close the deficit to one point, but a kill by the Jaguars gave Augusta State a slim 25-23 victory in the opening set.

Spinks led the Falcons with six kills on 13 attempts in the opening set, with Walker contributing three kills.

Augusta State opened the second set with a 4-0 run before a kill by Walker ended the streak. Montevallo responded with a 7-2 run to take a one-point lead on a service ace by Falletta.

The two teams went back-and-forth before the Jaguars used a 6-2 run to take a four-point lead late in the set. Montevallo followed with a 3-1 run to tie the set at 23-23 on an attack error by Augusta State, but the Jaguars clinched the second set 25-23 with two straight points to end the set.

Carle led Montevallo with seven kills in the second set.

After dropping the first two sets, Montevallo rallied to capture the third set 25-14. The Falcons jumped out to a commanding 14-5 lead in the third set with a 8-0 run, capped with back-to-back kills by Spinks and Ati. Montevallo closed the set with a dominating 9-1 run, including a 5-0 serving run by freshman Jessica Falletta, to clinch the set.

The Jaguars opened the fourth set with a 7-3 run, but the Falcons battled back to take the lead twice in the set. Montevallo used a 4-0 run, built with a pair of kills by Carle, to take a 13-12 lead. The Falcons led again at 18-17 following a service ace by freshman Carissa Bell.

However, Augusta State closed the fourth set with a 3-1 run to capture a 25-22 win in the set and clinch the match.

The meeting against the Jaguars was the third meeting between the two teams this season, with Montevallo sweeping the two regular season meetings in Peach Belt Conference play.

The Falcons closed out the year with their best stretch of the season, winning eight of their final 12 matches, including their final two Peach Belt Conference matches of the season to secure the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament.

Montevallo saw a two-match improvement in its win total this season from last season. The Falcons also saw junior Manyi Ati join the Falcons’ 1,000 career kills club after reaching the milestone in the final conference match of the regular season.