JSU volleyball: With a key starter out, unbeaten Gamecocks still roll

Mark Edwards, The Anniston Star, Ala.
·4 min read

Mar. 14—JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville State's Todd Garvey has said all season his volleyball team is more than just the few names that are at the top of the stat sheet every match.

On Sunday, the Gamecocks proved it. With outside hitter Courtney Glotzbach unable to play and relegated to sitting on the bench and cheering her teammates, Jacksonville State rolled past Eastern Kentucky 25-13, 25-16, 25-19.

Freshman Caroline Kasson produced a career-high 11 kills, while redshirt junior Addie Halverson was one off her season high with four. Lena Kindermann, JSU's usual leader in kills, had 11 as well.

Garvey declined to say why Glotzbach didn't play but added that she will be out for about a week.

"Caroline and Addie did a good job filling in for Courtney's spot," JSU coach Todd Garvey said. "It's not easy this late in the season to hop in there and make up what Courtney provides, but I thought both of them did really good offensively."

In addition, Katie Montgomery put together one of her best hitting matches of the season. She had eight kills and no attack errors. Her hitting percentage was a season-high .615.

The one to notice in this match, however, was Kasson, who didn't play in the first set. Even so, her 11 kills matched what she had combined in all the matches to this point. If you didn't notice the 6-foot-0 freshman when she slammed a kill with enough power to drive the ball into the court, you couldn't miss the way she celebrated.

"She was definitely so excited," said senior Kaylie Milton, one of the team leaders. "You could tell before the game that she was so excited to get the opportunity to play. That rubs off on a lot of us, that excitement and the good vibe she brings."

JSU (11-0) put away Eastern Kentucky (2-9) quickly, needing only 80 minutes from the first point to the last. Even so, Garvey had hoped the Gamecocks would play at a higher level.

Eastern Kentucky was missing two of its key players in Molly Michalak and Sarah Mitchell, but the Colonels actually led in the first set 11-10 before JSU scored 11 straight points. EKU also was up 2-1 in the second set and 5-3 in the third before the Gamecocks took over.

"I felt like we could've played a lot better today," Garvey said. (EKU) is usually better than what they played today, so it was a little sloppy on both sides. But, I think every time we step on the court, we want to perform like we're going to perform in the OVC title game. That's the only way to get where we need to go."

What to know

—With five Ohio Valley Conference matches left, JSU needs only one win or a loss by fifth-place Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (7-4) to clinch a spot in the league tournament. Only the top four teams qualify this year.

—Milton, one of JSU's best all-around players, managed five kills and only one attack error. She also had four digs.

—Setter Lexie Libs entered the match leading the nation with 12.18 assists a set. She had 27 assists Sunday along with team-high eight digs. Erin Carmichael had six assists and seven digs. Dani Steele contributed four digs.

Who said

—Milton on the team's depth: "In practice, everyone is so competitive with how good everyone is on our team. Our bench can beat other starting lineups in this conference, and that just shows how good everyone is on our team. And, our coach has trust in every single person."

—Garvey on Kasson: "Caroline has been performing at a really high level all year in practice, and I think she's probably one of our most improved players. In system, if we get a good set, she can score as well as anybody on the team. There are some other aspects to her game that are catching up to everybody else's, but right now she's one of our best at putting the ball away. I had a lot of confidence in her going in there and performing at a high level."

Next up

—JSU will play Eastern Kentucky at home again Monday at 4 p.m. UT Martin will visit for two matches March 21-22, and the Gamecocks will finish the OVC regular season at Morehead State on March 28-29.

Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.