COLUMBUS, Ga. - The Columbus State Lady Cougars outlasted Montevallo to beat the Lady Eagles 3-2 on Tuesday night at the Lumpkin Center in a Peach Belt Conference volleyball match. It was CSU's ninth full-set match. The Lady Cougars are 7-2 in matches that go the full five sets.
Columbus State and Montevallo are now tied for a third place spot in the Peach Belt, each 8-4 in the conference. The Lady Cougars are 16-7 and the Falcons are 15-7 overall.
"I am extremely proud of the girls," said CSU head coach Casey Cornett. "With the exception of a minor hiccup in set two, this is the most consistent we have played all year. We have been focusing a lot on defense and team chemistry, and I believe that was a product of the win tonight."
Outside hitters Katie Poole and Erica Gelzinyte each posted over 20 kills in the win. Poole booked her ninth double-double of the season with 21 kills and 14 digs. Gelzinyte served up seven of CSU's eight aces to pair with her career-high 24 kills. Setter Kierston Smith had a hot night with 12 kills, 43 assists and 12 digs.
Four Lady Cougars made double-digit digs. In addition to Poole and Smith, defensive specialist Taylor Ray led the back court with 17 and Caytlin Merritt had 15 digs.
Gelzinyte was responsible for eight of CSU's first 16 points with seven kills and a service ace in the first half of the opening set, leading the Lady Cougars to a 25-20 nod. Columbus State struggled on offense in the second set, giving up nine points on attack errors and hitting only .033.
In the third, the Lady Cougars and Falcons tied it up eight times before pulling ahead to 19-16 advantage with Ray behind the service line. UM evened the score at 21, and Gelzinyte topped off the set with a kill and service ace to cap it at 25-22. Poole led the CSU set with seven kills and eight digs.
CSU and Montevallo battled a tight fourth set with the Falcons coming out ahead 25-20 to push the match into five. In a finale full of intense rallies, Columbus State downed Montevallo 25-13.
Montevallo's offense was led by middle and right side hitter Rebekah Phelps with 17 kills. Libero Kaleigh Harvey had a team-high 24 digs, and Manyi Ati had 12 kills and nine blocks for the Falcons.