Towson defeats Georgia State in three sets
After an intense weekend with games against Colonial Athletic Association rival-Delaware and a five-set match against Pennsylvania last week, Towson took its foot off the gas for a less aggressive 3-0 win over Georgia State Friday night.
Towson (15-3, 2-0 CAA) let Georgia State (2-13, 0-3 CAA) set the tempo for the first two sets with the Tigers only winning them 25-23 and 25-22 respectively.
But the Tigers were able to turn up the momentum and close out the match with a more characteristic set, winning the third set 25-15 for the sweep.
Sophomore libero Paige Sekerak said she thought the team played down to Georgia State’s level and that’s something that the team needs to work on before next week.
She said the team tends to focus more on the opponent than itself.
“I think we had a slow start, but when we were in the locker room we came together and we talked about and came out stronger in the third set, which is important, but again we shouldn’t have slow starts like that,” she said.
Head Coach Bruce Atkinson said that the one thing that really hurt the Tigers this week was having trouble seeing the Panthers’ block. It was something he said got better by the third set.
After resting for the week, senior setter Aubrey Kirven set for the first time since she was pulled during the UPenn match due to her back tightening up.
She recorded 46 assists in Friday’s match.
“She hadn’t made any sets until today since she sat this entire week so she was a little cold,” Atkinson said. “Her timing was a little off, but she still averaged over 15 assists a set, so I think for having minimal practice she did a nice job.”
Despite starting the match with a .111 hitting percentage in the first set, junior outside hitter Dayane Van Ass came back with strong attacks to finish hitting above .300 and 12 kills.
“She made some really nice swings and then she made some not-so-nice swings. I think overall she had a good night,” Atkinson said. “She struggled getting on top of the ball and so I think she could have had an over-500 hitting night if she had gotten a little more aggressive snap.”
Senior opposite hitter Marta Machos received CAA honors for the first time in her career as the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week.
She described her play as “so-so.”
“I was 50/50,” Machos said. “I think I could do better. I have a couple bad swings. I still have things to fix.”
Junior outside hitter Katy Buck recorded another “double-double” this week with 12 kills and 11 digs. Her hitting percentage improved to .258 and Atkinson said she was having a hard time seeing the block so that some sets were attacked well and others weren’t.
“Physically she feels strong and mentally she’s working hard, but we just have to come up with some drills where we’re going to put her in some similar situations during this week in practice and I think she’ll come out fine,” Atkinson said.
Sekerak described the defense as not the team’s best so far this season.
“There definitely were so many balls that we should have gotten up that we didn’t, but it’s something to work on,” she said. “And next week we want to improve on that for sure.”
Towson will hit the road next week for two matches against William & Mary and UNC-Wilmington.
“[The long break] feels really nice, but at the same time the team’s whole focus is on next week,” Sekerak said. “We want to prove that we can improve our mistakes tonight during our next matches because it’s easier to do in practice than incompetition.”