The Sports Inquirer spoke with Georgia State men’s basketball player Jalen Thomas in an exclusive interview Jan. 7. Topics with the sophomore post player from Detroit, Michigan included his return to the lineup, scoring 10 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the Panthers’ 70-62 win at Coastal Carolina Jan. 2, the Panthers adjusting to playing consecutive Sun Belt Conference in two days, the recruitment process to Georgia State, finding comfort on the court as a sophomore and Georgia State preparing to visit Troy in conference play Jan. 8.
Release from Georgia State Athletics:
TROY, Ala. – One day after a home win, Georgia State’s volleyball team completed a 3-0 shutout at Troy on Saturday, winning 25-23, 28-26, 25-20. The win was just the second shutout of the season for the Panthers and improved the team’s conference record to 5-7.
The win moved Georgia State’s record to 7-14 (5-7 Sun Belt) and Troy drops to 9-16 (1-12 Sun Belt).
“We passed really well tonight,” head coach Sally Polhamus said. “We need to learn to play our game better when we’re in an opponent’s gym, but this was a step in the right direction. It was a tough environment and we we’re excited to get out of here with a win.”
The passing game was fueled by junior Gabby Serafin and sophomore Molly Shonk. The duo combined for 30 digs with Serafin leading the way with 19. Serafin and Shonk led the defense that held Troy to .146 hitting. GSU had a nice night in the blocking game as well and the team finished with eight total blocks in the three-set contest, an impressive 2.67 blocks-per-set average.
Junior Natalia Nieto had an impressive night, averaging 13 assists per set with 39 on the night. Nieto was able to find multiple teammates to help the team to a .267 hitting percentage. Juniors Deidra Bohannon and Eliza Zachary led the Panther offense and both finished with double digit kills.
Bohannon hit .275 with 13 kills while Zachary had 10 kills on .269 hitting. Sophomore Kristina Stinson added eight kills and Nieto got in on the action with four of her own.
Georgia State has had a tough time on the road this season. This is just the second road victory in nine contests, but both of those wins were 3-0 shutouts. Georgia State’s two wins this weekend moved the team up two spots in the conference standings to seventh place.
Troy led by as many as five in the first set, but a late surge by the Panthers helped them claim their first lead of the set at 20-19. Georgia State outhit the Trojans .289-.125 and won the set 26-24 after two-straight errors by Troy. Six different Panthers recorded kills in the first frame and Bohannon led the way with five.
Set two saw the Panthers lead for most of the set. Troy trailed by five at 20-15 but rallied to tie the set at 24. Troy took a 25-24 lead, but Bohannon’s ninth kill kept the Panthers in it. After trailing 26-25, Georgia State rattled off three-straight points to win 28-26 and take a 2-0 lead into intermission.
Georgia State rode the momentum out of intermission and controlled the third set. Troy made it a close set when they cut the deficit to 23-20, but the Panthers came back and sealed the deal to earn a 25-20 win and their second shutout of the season.