The Georgia State beach volleyball team is off to its worst start since its inaugural season in 2013 – the Panthers are 4-4.
The Panthers opened their season 2-2 in Stetson Spring Fling in Deland, Florida at Stetson. They dominated their two wins.
However, they lost 5-0 in games to the No. 10 in the country, Florida International, and the hosting school. On both days of the tournament, the Panthers split.
More of the same happened in the team’s second tournament of the season, the Horned Frog Challenge. With two losses and two wins in that challenge as well, Georgia State is .500 on the season.
When they began 4-4 in 2013, the Panthers finished 8-9. No other Georgia State beach volleyball team has finished worst than a .667 win percentage for a season.
With 23 regular season matches remaining, the Panthers have plenty of time to improve. But the team has just three seniors and one graduate. A final record tethering around .500 final would be a stark contrast from the young program’s traditional success.
“Our freshmen and sophomores come in with more experience than younger players in the past because the sport is growing at the lower levels,” senior player Ashley McGinn said. “They have a lot of experience when it comes to the sport itself, now they just have gain experience in those high pressure situations where the team is counting on them. Our coaches and older players do a great job with that in practice, the younger players are killing it in practice situations and will do the same in game situations.”
That’s how the Panthers ended up 4-4.
Stetson Challenge (125 words)
The first game on day one against Stetson didn’t go the Panthers’ way. They got off to a bad start and dropped all their sets on all five courts.
In the second game on day one, the Panthers played much better showing shades of last season’s Panthers who finished in the Top 15 in the country. Georgia State won in straight sets against Eckerd College even after running into trouble on court one and three, where they had to win a playoff sets on both courts.
During the next day of action, the Panthers started the day winning in straight sets with no playoffs against St. Leo.
Kate Novack and Kaylee McClure started off by winning the first set 21-11, 21-17 on court one. Brooke Weiner and Kelly Dorn would follow up with a straight set win on court two. Olivia Stasevich and Maddy Delmonte would finish off the sweep against the Lions with a 21-13, 21-19 set win.
Georgia State fell in straight sets in last match against No. 10 Florida International. In the first set, Maddie Gordon and Becky Tresham forced a playoff. After that Georgia State didn’t have much luck losing the remainder of their sets with no playoff.
Preseason Coastal Collegiate Conference Association All-conference player, Brooke Weiner finished the weekend finished 2-2 in pairs.
“I think for it being the first weekend we did pretty well,” McGinn said. “We definitely have a lot of room to grow, but we learned a lot about our team this weekend.”
Horned Frog Challenged
The Panthers split again this week in Fort Worth, Texas. They started their weekend against the host of the tournament, TCU. They came just short of victory, losing the matchup 2-3.
They would go on to win their next matchup 4-1 against Missouri State to close out the first day.
Georgia State went on a two-game win streak the next day when they barely beat in a tough battle 3-2. Anna Rantala earned her first career win. She played with Mattie Johnson, and the duo won both their sets on the fifth court 21-17, 21-7. Brooke Weiner and Kate Novack would brought the victory home by winning their two sets on court three.
The Panthers faced off against Grand Canyon in their last matchup on day two. They lost the matchup 3-2.
Georgia State will make a trip to play in March-to-May Tournament hosted by UAB next weekend this weekend.