By E. Marcel Pourtout, Editor
The Georgia State volleyball team returns to the court in a Sun Belt Conference home match against Texas State on Friday. The Panthers (4-14, 2-7) are coming off of two losses on the road this past weekend to Arkansas State and Arkansas Little Rock.
Georgia State dropped its contest to Arkansas State 3-0 (19-25, 16-25, 20-25) on Oct. 10. The Panthers struggled offensively with 26 errors and a .147 hitting percentage. “I was disappointed because it was the first match we didn’t battle,” Georgia State coach Sally Polhamus said. “We didn’t execute and weren’t able to get into rhythm on offense because of passing. Our passers got more comfortable in the third set but that’s way too far into a match to make an impact.”
Highlights from the Arkansas State match included Kristina Stinson who hit a career-high .429 with seven kills. Deidra Bohannon led the team with eight kills and 13 digs while Eliza Zachary added seven kills and two blocks. Senior Andrea Book hit for .378 in the loss.
The Panthers were defeated 3-0 (18-25, 17-25, 15-25) by Arkansas Little Rock on Oct. 12. Kitan Ajanaku had a team-high 11 kills while Gabby Serafin’s 13 digs also led Georgia State.
Despite the defeats, the coaching staff has seen improvement from the team. “It’s a building process,” Polhamus said. “We work on our volleyball IQ everyday which means identifying shots, tips, hitter tendencies and seeing the bigger picture of the game. We’re getting better every week.”
Book added, “Our team has improved leaps and bounds. Our defense is grittier and the offense is more aggressive.”
The team has also adjusted off the court to Polhamus who’s currently in her first year leading the Panthers. “It’s been really positive since Sally (Polhamus) has gotten here,” Zachary said. “She’s taught us about volleyball and life, trusting each other and playing as a family.”
Georgia State hosts a Texas State (13-8, 8-1) squad that’s won eight of its last nine matches. “They serve well and have a balanced offense,” Polhamus said about the Bobcats. “Taking care of our side of the net is the number one thing. It feels like a weekly thing to talk about but the serving and passing game are so vital.”