AIKEN, S.C. – Three Saints
reached double-digit kill totals as Flagler College won the 2009
Peach Belt Conference volleyball tournament with a 3-0 sweep of
Armstrong Atlantic State on Sunday in Aiken, S.C., part of the
PBC-GEICO Championship Series. The Saints, in their first season of
play in the Peach Belt, complete the championship double-dip after
winning the PBC regular-season title. Flagler was the top seed for
the tournament and improve to 32-8 on the year with their 25th
straight victory. Armstrong Atlantic State, the #2 seed, falls to
Flagler will receive the PBC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which begins next week. Armstrong Atlantic State is in good position for an at-large bid when the tournament field is announced on Sunday night at 8:00 pm. Flagler swept all three of their tournament games 3-0, becoming the first championship team to sweep three straight matches since North Florida in 2004.
The Saints hit .244 in the match to win 25-22, 25-28 and 25-23. Meg Weathersby had 13 kills, hitting .433, and 11 digs to lead the Saints while Katie Beale added 11 kills and 21 digs. Rachel Stacy, named the tournament Most Valuable Player, had 10 kills and hit .364. Justine Burkhardt also reached double-digit digs with 11 and added nine kills.
Flagler jumped out to an early lead in the first set and were up 11-5 on the Pirates before the crowd had settled into the convocation center. A Weathersby kill made the score 14-7 before AASU responded with five straight points to cut the lead to two. Kathrin Standhardinger and Amy Birkmeier had kills during the run, but Flagler answered with points from Beale and Burkhart. AASU did not get closer than three points the rest of the set.
The second stanza began with back-and-forth action that left the score at 13-10 AASU following a kill by Michele Remlinger. Flagler answered with back-to-back strikes from Weathersby and a Pirate error to tied the match. The score was 15-14 Armstrong when Flagler put the set away with six straight points, getting kills from four different attackers, that left the score 20-15 and the set all but over.
Armstrong Atlantic made a valiant rally in the third and led 21-17 in an attempt to extent the match when Flagler tied the match with four straight points. Standhardinger put AASU up one with a kill, but the Saints countered with a kill from Rachel Stacy and back-to-back aces from Becky Hendrian. A kill from Burkhardt clinched the championship.
Armstrong Atlantic State was led by Leia Pittman who had 10 kills. Birkmeier, Standhardinger and Amanda Jones each had seven for the Pirates. Kristin Standhardinger added 33 assists and 12 digs while Casey Howett led the team with 13 digs.
2009 Peach Belt
Ashley Ferry, Lander
Katy Handrick, Montevallo
Kristin Standhardinger, Armstrong Atlantic State
Kathrin Standhardinger, Armstrong Atlantic State
Meg Weathersby, Flagler
Rachel Stacy, Flagler (Most Valuable Player)