Volleyball clinches No. 2 seed, heads into postseason

Volleyball clinches No. 2 seed, heads into postseason

Two wins finished off the season for the Kennesaw State volleyball team, as it defeated Jacksonville University 3-0 on Friday, Nov. 15, before a 3-1 victory over Liberty on Sunday.

Following those victories, the Owls finished the season with a 20-8 overall record and a 13-3 record in the Atlantic Sun Conference. KSU will enter the ASUN Tournament as the No. 2 seed.

“We talk about it all the time — that winning high-level games and competing for championships takes guts, tons of resilience and a consistent mentality by everyone on our roster,” head coach Keith Schunzel said.

Three KSU players finished the sweep against Jacksonville with 11 kills each, as the Owls won two of the three sets by double-digits. Junior outside hitter Lauren Chastang earned her 14th double-double of the season against the Dolphins, with 13 digs and 11 kills during the match.

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Lauren Chastang (13) earned her 14th double-double of the season during the game against Jacksonville on Nov. 15. Photo credit: Sentinel Archives

The first set was quickly controlled by KSU thanks in part to the service game of Chastang, who converted all five of her aces in the match during the opening set.

After winning the first set 25-12, the Owls looked comfortable in the second set until a late rally by Jacksonville reduced the KSU lead to 21-20. Despite feeling pressure, the Owls won four of the next five points to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

With the third set tied at 15 points each, KSU finished off the match with 10 consecutive points.

Along with Chastang, junior middle blocker Quin Sutphin and sophomore outside hitter Dani Ballou contributed 11 kills during the match.

On Sunday, the Owls traveled to Liberty to play its final regular season game.

Chastang led the way in this match with 21 kills, while three others finished with a double-digit kills total.

The Flames prevented KSU from finding a clear advantage in the first set. After a prolonged period of play, a kill by Chastang and an error by Liberty helped the Owls prevail 38-36.

After dropping the second set, KSU rebounded and won the third set before a tightly-contested final set. With the fourth set tied at 24 points each, a kill by sophomore middle blocker Jasmine Brown and and ace by senior setter Lexi Broadwater clinched victory for the Owls. Brown finished with 13 kills — one shy of her career high.

“The fight we showed today was nothing short of tremendous,” Schunzel said. “Really proud of our group to get us in the position we’re in heading into the conference tournament.”

KSU ended the season by finishing just behind rival Florida Gulf Coast in the conference standings.

Heading into the ASUN tournament, a few KSU players were among the best in the conference in their respective positions during the regular season.

Broadwater finished first in the ASUN with 11.99 assists per set while coming in second in overall assists with 1,247. Chastang finished first in service aces per set with an average of 0.58 while her 405 kills were good for third-best.

Defensively, Sutphin finished in a three-way tie for first place in solo blocks with 18 while junior defensive specialist Karlee Groover earned fourth place in the ASUN with 496 digs. Brown finished just behind Sutphin with 17 solo blocks.

KSU will enter the semifinal round of the ASUN Tournament Friday, Nov. 22, in Fort Myers, Florida, after receiving a bye as one of the top two seeds.

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