Nov. 21, 2003
Chattanooga, Tenn. - Western Carolina took Georgia Southern all the way through a fifth game, but fell in the end to the Eagles in the first round of the Southern Conference Volleyball Championships at UTC's Maclellan Gym. GSU claimed the five-game victory by scores of 30-23, 27-30, 28-30, 30-21, 15-10.
In the opening game, the Lady Eagles got the offense going in the last half of the game behind the hitting of Janice Pressley, who had five kills and hit .500 at the net. The Catamounts responded in the second game with a .298 hitting average behind six kills each from Michelle Gorton and Kellyn Thaut, who also had 12 digs.
The Cats overcame a late deficit in game three with seven straight points behind the serving of Gorton. The Eagles led 26-22 before Western went on its run. Thaut had two kills during the spree and Sara Komosinski was in on two blocks. Two GSU hitting errors accounted for the final WCU points.
The Eagles flexed their muscle in the fourth game by jumping to a big early lead and the Catamounts never recovered. Georgia Southern did the same thing in the deciding game by getting ahead 5-0, led by the blocking of Jennifer Charles.
SoCon Player of the Year Martina Veiglova finished with 28 kills for GSU (25-9) and Kristen Kasprak and Pressley both added 16. Pressley's 21 digs led the defense, while Veiglova picked up 18, Winkelman 13 and Jessica Lippi 11. Winkelman and Jessica Lippi shared setting duties and combined for 69 assists. Charles and Christina Lentz both finished with six blocks.
Western Carolina (16-17) was led by Thaut's solid performance with 23 kills and 22 digs. Komosinski hit .351 at the net with 16 kills and she added 13 digs. Gorton had 14 kills and Heather Koontz 11. Stefanie Peters added 18 digs, while Shari Harder had 17 and Ellie Talbot 15. Harder also picked up 66 set assists.
During the SoCon volleyball banquet Thursday night, the All-Conference team and postseason honors were announced. Catamount freshman sensation Kellyn Thaut earned the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year nod, the first time a WCU volleyball player has received the honor.