Flagler falls to Armstrong in women’s volleyball conference championship

By Cristina Coca | gargoyle@flagler.edu
Photo by Dyann Busse

This past weekend the volleyball team entered the Peach Belt Conference Tournament as the Number two seed due to their second place finish in conference play. They finished the regular season with a 20-9 record.

The Saints took on Lander University in the semifinal match and won three sets to zero.

Then on Sunday for the finals, the Saints were matched up against long-time rival Armstrong Atlantic State University who won the regular season Conference title this year. The Saints started out strong taking the first set, but then Armstrong Atlantic answered back by winning the next two sets. Flagler was determined to send the finals into the fifth match and was successful by winning the fourth.

As the teams entered the fifth and final match, Armstrong started out with the lead but Flagler pulled even at 11 points. Armstrong then held off the Saints to take the final match as well as the Conference Tournament title.

With the conclusion of the regular season the All-Conference team was released by the conference office. Making first team honors was seniors Casey Gnann and Dianna Craine, along with Junior, Emily Taylor. Rachel Stacy received second team honors as well.

Senior Casey Gnann also received the PBC Libero/Defensive Specialist of the year.

Gnann made PBC history by becoming the first player to ever repeat as the league’s Libero/Defensive Specialist of the Year. A senior from Boca Raton, Fla., she is currently third on the PBC’s all-time list with 2,285 career digs. This season, she leads the PBC and is ranked ninth nationally with 6.01 digs per set. Her 661 total digs so far this year is nearly 100 more than her nearest competitor and already the seventh-highest single-season total in league history with more matches to play. A two-time PBC Specialist of the Week, Gnann had 30 or more digs in four matches this season including a season-high 41 at Augusta State on Nov. 2.

Craine, a senior outside hitter, earned second consecutive all-conference honor, it was the first time she was a first-team selection. She was a preseason All-Peach Belt selection and a two-time PBC Player of the Week (Sept. 4 and Oct. 15). Craine has recorded 365 kills (3.38/set) and has a team-high 35 service aces. She leads the league in kills per set and is second in kills and attacks, fifth in solo blocks, seventh in digs per set and ninth in service aces.

Taylor, a junior outside hitter, received her second-all-conference award, also a first-time first-team selection. She leads the team with 368 kills (3.38/set) and is hitting .220. Taylor has 243 digs (2.23/s) and 63 total blocks (0.58/s) and has also served up 24 aces. She leads the conference in kills and is second in kills per set. Taylor was the PBC Player of the Week (Nov. 5).

Stacy, a senior middle blocker, was a first-team all-conference pick in 2010. She leads the Saints with a .327 hitting percentage as she recorded 199 kills with 44 errors on 474 swings. Stacy is fourth on the club with 28 service aces and recorded 77 total blocks (0.71/set) and 65 block assists. She ranks fifth in the Peach Belt in block assists and total blocks and eighth in blocks per set.

The Saints also placed Craine and junior outside hitter Sophie Meyer on the All-Conference Tournament team.
The team also had four if its members selected to the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s All-Southeast Region Teams, announced on Nov. 21.

Outside hitters Dianna Craine and Emilee Taylor along with libero Casey Gnann all earned their second consecutive all-region accolades. Middle blocker Rachel Stacy was selected to the honorable mention team. The first-team selections will now move on to All-America considerations.

The team is preparing for its Southeastern Regional match against Newberry College, Thursday November 29 at noon in Savannah, Georgia.

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