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VSU reaches NCAA tourney for first time in school history

Written By: Neil Frawley

People like to say that when in Rome you’re supposed to eat cake. But when the Valdosta State Volleyball team went to Rome, Georgia, they were saying, “When in Rome…let’s be Gulf South Conference Champions for the first time in school history.”

The Blazers proved they belonged in the conference’s elite as they dominated their competition, and swept University of Alabama Huntsville, University of West Florida and University of North Alabama.

Destiny Berry, Jessica Codato, and Jenna Kirkwood were named to the All-Tournament team. Kirkwood was chosen as the tournament MVP. She had 10 kills and hit 31 percent in the final match against UNA.

The team will now look for more post season play as the No. 4 seed in the region tournament. Their first match, Thursday, will be against the No. 5 St. Leo University, who plays in the Sunshine State Conference which features the No.1 team in DII, the University of Tampa.

If VSU wins its first match, they will be playing the winner of UT and Claflin University. If VSU plays UT, it would be a rematch of when the two played each other on Oct. 17 when UT pulled out the victory in three sets.

When head coach Mike Swan began this season, he and his team set out three goals: go undefeated at home, win the GSC title and make it to the NCAA tournament.

With all the team goals checked off, Swan and the team are quickly having to retool and look forward to pushing for more and more success. It’s one thing to be the first team to win a GSC title, it’s another thing to see how long the magic can last.

The championship came as a result of a complete team effort. It was apparent from the start the team had great chemistry. The first round of the region tournament begins today at 5 p.m. in Tampa, Florida.


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