Written By: Neil Frawley
Nearly thirty minutes after the Valdosta State’s women’s soccer team received a standing ovation at the Complex for advancing to the DII NCAA tournament as Gulf South Conference champions, the volleyball team began their march towards claiming the same honor.
VSU defeated the University Alabama Huntsville 3-0, to move on to face University of West Florida in the semifinals of the GSC tournament on Saturday in Rome, Georgia at 2:30 p.m.
Head coach Mike Swan earned his first playoff victory as a coach at VSU, and also finished 13-0 at home.
“It’s a good feeling,” Swan said. “This is one of our three goals we set out this year: to win all of them at home.”
After beating the Chargers 3-0 nine days ago, Swan knew this would be a different UAH team.
“I knew Huntsville would put up a much better battle than they did nine days ago,” Swan said. They were really flat that day, and we dominated them.”
GSC player of the year, Jessica Codato, kept her high level of play going again by tallying 38 assists, four kills and four digs.
“It’s the first round, so we’re always going to be a little nervous, but I mean we got back in the game,” Codato said.
After splitting the season series with UWF, Codato believes consistency will be the key to winning the championship.
“It’s mental at this point of the year,” Codato said. “We’ve been practicing, working hard every single day from the beginning of the year from August, and our team is so great, and we’ve been working every single day, and it’s working. So it’s just mental.”
On being the player of the year in the GSC, Codato expresses her gratitude for the award, but also admits humbly how important her teammates were to achieving the award.
“It’s great,” Codato said. “It’s an honor, and that’s still a team award, because I’m a setter (and) without them I wouldn’t have gotten anything.”
Swan is no stranger to needing to win when it counts. His response to exactly how many was simply, “too many.”
“I still get a little nervous, but I don’t let a whole lot of stuff get me rattled,” Swan said.