“That’s a team thing…I have to put that one on the team. It’s not on me.” – Natalia Nieto,Georgia State University Women’s volleyball player.
Rebounding from a road trip that saw the team lose a pair of matches in Arkansas, Georgia State volleyball prevailed over the Texas State Bobcats in four sets for the team’s second home victory.
It is the Panthers’ fifth victory of the season and third in Sun Belt conference play.
“What a great spread of our offense,” Georgia State head coach Sally Polhamus said. “Multiple players stepped up tonight. Great defense by our team as well. Every day, we’re getting better and it’s fun to see the product on the court.”
One notable statistic from this match was that Natalia Nieto moved into sixth in Panthers history in the assists category. She needed 19 assists coming into the match to climb up the school’s assist chart. Nieto finished the match with 45.
“That’s a team thing,” Nieto said on achieving the milestone. “I have to put that one on the team. It’s not on me.”
The 45 assists bring Nieto’s career total as a Panther to 2,187.
“Natalia [Nieto] set a great match,” Coach Polhamus said. “She found the right hitters and they terminated. Texas State is a gritty, defensive team. This was a hard˗fought match and a fun match.”
Ahead of her in fifth is Missy Stawick, whose Georgia State career spanned from 1994˗97 and compiled 2,323 assists.
Georgia State began the match in dominating fashion. They would jump out to a 7˗2 lead which led to a timeout from Texas State head coach Karen Chisum.
At this point in the set, Deidra Bohannon and Eliza Zachary had a pair of kills each. The Bobcats would have to call for time again as the Panthers’ lead grew to 15˗6.
The Panthers’ lead would become 20˗9 before Texas State scored four of the next five points to close within 21˗13. Georgia State closed with a 4˗0 run to claim the first set 25˗13.
Zachary led the Panthers with five kills and a .556 hitting percentage. Bohannon also had four kills with a hitting percentage of .364. Georgia State also saw a .750 hitting percentage from Andrea Book along with three kills.
On the Texas State side, freshman middle blocker Lauren Kirch had two kills
The roles reversed in the second frame as it would be the Bobcats who grabbed the early lead at 7˗3. As the set continued, the Panthers were able to close to within 12˗11.
An ace from Zachary on a ball that looked to be going out of bounds would even the tally at 12. Sophomore offensive hitter Keeley Davis came up with a kill.
The Bobcats went ahead by three at 16˗13 with a Texas State service ace, prompting a timeout from Coach Polhamus.
Texas State’s lead became 18˗13, leading to another Georgia State timeout. Seven of the set’s final ten points belonged to Texas State en route to a 25˗16 Bobcat win in set number two.
After the second set, Kirch had five kills. Senior outside hitter assisted the Texas State cause with four kills. Redshirt junior middle blocker Amanda Watkins had three kills and a .500 hitting percentage.
Zachary and Bohannon led the Panthers with eight and seven kills, respectively.
The third period began with both teams trading the first point each via kills from Texas State’s Watkins and Georgia State’s Zachary. The Bobcats would later assume a 7˗3 advantage. The Panthers then called timeout, but Texas State’s lead grew to 9˗3. Georgia State trimmed their deficit to 11˗7 before calling time again after two more Bobcats points made the score 13˗7.
Zachary’s 11th kill of the match fand an ace from Sydney Mauer aided the Panthers in closing to 13˗10 before Texas State expanded its lead back to 15˗10.
Five of the next seven points of the match would go to Georgia State as the score became 17˗15. The tally became 18 apiece after a kill from Kristina Stinson before an attack error from Watkins gave the Panthers a 19˗18 lead.
The Bobcats then called timeout, but a kill credited to Book and an attack error from Sierra Smith grew the Georgia State lead to 21˗18. The closing moments of the third set would be close, but Bohannon’s tenth kill of the match closed it for the Panthers for a 25˗23 victory.
The two teams traded the first four points each to start set number four. Two consecutive Bohannon kills and a pair of Bobcats attack errors gave the Panthers a 8˗4 lead.
The 4˗0 run for Georgia State prompted a timeout from Texas State. The Bobcats made it close as the lead for the Panthers shrunk to one at 9˗8 as well as at 11˗10.
Including an ace from Molly Shonk and another Bohannon kill, Georgia State engineered a 4˗0 run to go in front by five at 15˗10.
The lead became 17˗14 with a Panthers service error and a Texas State block. The Bobcats would call time again as the tally became 19˗15 Georgia State. Texas State cut the Panthers lead to 21˗20 as the set progressed on.
After a Georgia State timeout, the Panthers would notch four of the last six points with the game˗winner being a Bohannon block to claim the final set 25˗22.
Zachary was the Panthers leader in the kills category with 17 along with a .371 hitting percentage. Bohannon contributed 14 to the Georgia State cause. Kitan Ajanaku had nine kills along with a .538 hitting percentage while Book had six kills on .417 hitting.
For Texas State, Simms finished with 13 kills. Kirch ended with 10 of her own while Watkins had a .438 hitting percentage.
The Panthers will take to the court on Oct. 24 at the Sports Arena as they face Louisiana˗Lafayette at 6 p.m.