With two conference tournament wins already in their back pocket, GC entered Sunday’s match looking to pull its second upset in as many days and knock off the top seeded, two-time defending conference tournament champion Flagler Saints. Unfortunately, the Bobcats' magic ran out, as they fell to Flagler 3-0, and took second place in Peach Belt Conference tournament.
“They ran a really great offense today,” said Bobcats head coach Gretchen Krumdieck after the game. “They were very solid all-around and were very well rounded, and that happens sometimes.”
Bobcats assistant coach Steven Brown agreed with Krumdieck, saying that Flagler’s fast-paced offense and leaping ability were keys to their success Sunday.
In the first two sets, GC looked poised to pull another upset, as they jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead in the first set and a 4-1 lead in the second set. But after surrendering early leads, the Saints came roaring back, taking the sets 25-12 and 25-16, respectively, before heading to the match’s final frame.
Despite entering the match’s final set with an uphill battle in front of them, GC bowed its back and continued to fight, taking an early 12-7 advantage before forcing Flagler to burn a timeout to regroup.
“[The team] is resilient. I think as a team we fight really well,” said Brown of GC’s effort after falling down 2-0. “I think when we have our backs against the wall, we always end up somehow finding a way to break through that.”
Following the break in action, Flagler asserted itself once again, using an offensive assault to take a late 21-20 lead, and they eventually closed out the Bobcats to secure their third consecutive PBC conference tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Southeast Regional.
Along with finishing as the tournament runners-up, two Bobcats, junior setter Kayla Brockway and freshman outside hitter Libby Bochniak, were also named to the PBC All-Tournament team.
After the match, Krumdieck said the Bobcats will look to put Sunday’s loss behind them and focus on continuing to improve as the NCAA tournament approaches.
“We still have a lot of volleyball to play. We still have two more weeks until the NCAA tournament so we are kind of turning the page and focusing on that now,” said Krumdieck. “We’re going to tighten up in every little aspect. We’re going to work on hitting and making our shots a little bit better and get ready and get back on track a little bit.”
Brown also added that on-court communication and being prepared will also be important areas for GC to improve in as they get ready for the NCAA tournament.
The Bobcats will wait to learn their fate Sunday Nov. 29 when at-large bids to the NCAA Southeast Regional will be given out on the NCAA tournament selection show. The show can be seen at 7:30 p.m. on ncaa.com.