Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Volleyball on verge

The JSU volleyball team is one of the hottest teams in America, but coach Rick Nold says there's still "a lot more" it can do.

"Hopefully in two weeks we can be clicking on all cylinders," he said.

The Gamecocks (21-5, 14-0 OVC) can have a lot of say where they'll be playing two weeks from now this weekend. If they beat Austin Peay Friday night in Pete Mathews Coliseum, they will clinch the OVC regular season title and the No. 1 seed and home site for the OVC Tournament.

If they don't win Friday, they have enough of a lead in the standings that they can still claim the top seed by winning their three matches that follow.

They were picked sixth in the preseason coaches poll.

The Gamecocks faced the biggest threat to their 15-match winning streak last Friday before pulling out a 3-2 win over Tennessee Tech. They fell behind two games to none and 24-22 in a potential deciding Game 4, before claiming their eighth five-set win of the year and sixth in OVC play.

"We really bumped our level of play up to a point we hadn’t seen in a while," Nold said. "Sometimes it takes somebody to push you that way to really see what you have inside of you. The important thing is for us to know where that other level is, because that’s where ultimately we’re trying to get to every week we’re playing."

The Gamecocks will recognize seniors Brittney Whitten and Paige Beasley during Saturday’s final regular-season home match against Tennessee State.

If anyone's listening, how incredible is this run of the volleyball team is on? Is it more incredible (inspiring) than the 19-match run the 2006 team made on its way to the NCAA Tournament? This was a team that was picked sixth in the preseason coaches poll and are now on the verge of winning the regular-season title. Sounds like hero stuff. Share some thoughts.

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