Allie Shannon and Emma Anderson teamed up for a block Saturday and scored the point that clinched the College of Coastal Georgia volleyball team’s first Southern States Athletic Conference title.
The Mariners defeated Mobile 3-1 (25-13, 17-25, 25-14, 25-19) in the championship match of the SSAC tournament in Montgomery, Ala.
“It was probably one of the most gratifying moments in my coaching career,” said Coastal Georgia coach Jeff Huebner, who came to the program during its inaugural season four years ago.
Winning the SSAC wasn’t the only first for Coastal Georgia. The Mariners punched their ticket to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament. They will find out today if they’ll host a first-round playoff game on Saturday during a tournament selection show.
“It’s exhausting to win,” Huebner said. “It feels like we put in a lot of work, and now we have a lot more work to do.”
Huebner said he wasn’t sure which achievement was the most impressive — going a perfect 23-0 against conference opponents, finishing 34-1 overall on the season, winning the SSAC or earning the team’s first berth into a national tournament — but they are all benchmarks his players can hang their hats on, knowing they’ve laid a foundation for success.
“I think going to nationals is a really big deal,” Huebner said.
“This team has set a lot of milestones. We’re the first team at the school to win a conference tournament and regular season title. 34-1 is an even bigger deal because that shows excellence over time.”
After dominating Mobile in the first set, the Mariners dropped off in the second set, but didn’t let the pressure of the moment get to them.
“It wasn’t, ‘We’ve come all this way,’” Huebner said. “It was, ‘Let’s remember how we got here.’
“We played one of our worst sets of the tournament and came back in the third set, and that was probably our best set.”
Anderson led the title charge for the Mariners with 19 kills in the title match, hitting a deadly .527. Anderson, a first-team SSAC all-conference selection, was named the tournament MVP.
Cayley Meiners, the SSAC Player of the Year, had 51 assists against Mobile to go with 17 digs.
Rachel Amundson had 13 kills, Shannon added 12 and Kara Neisen had 10.
Jennifer Johnson led the team in digs with 18, while Anderson had 16 and Neisen had 11.
Anderson, Meiners and Shannon were each named to the all-tournament team.
Mobile, which finished runner-up in the SSAC regular season standings as well as the tournament, had only three losses on the year — all to Coastal Georgia.
The Brunswick News