What you need to know:
* On Friday afternoon, Georgia State fought hard in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament, but came up short against Arkansas State. The Red Wolves took the match by a final of 20-25, 17-25 and 11-25.
* GSU fell to 10-18 overall to end its 2016 season. Arkansas State improved to 24-7 overall and advanced to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Volleyball Championship.
* In the final match of her Georgia State career, Kristina Stinson led the way offensively with nine kills to go with a couple of digs. Sophomore outside hitter Crystal Lee bolstered the Panther attack with six kills. Sarah Renner and Celeste Friesen added 20 assists and 11 digs respectively.
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – Georgia State battled all match long in the Sun Belt Conference tournament opener, but fell to top-seeded Arkansas State in three sets. The Red Wolves took the match by a final of 20-25, 17-25 and 11-25.
Head coach Sally Polhamus and GSU fell to 10-18 on the year. With the loss, the Panthers’ 2016 season comes to an end. Arkansas State moves on to face the winner of UT Arlington and Little Rock in the semifinals.
Polhamus was proud of the team's effort level and toughness.
"We played with great heart and energy and demonstrated relentless volleyball. They worked hard and played for our seniors, which is really special," Polhamus said.
In their last match as Panthers, seniors Kristina Stinson and Eliza Zachary combined for 13 kills on the afternoon. Stinson led the offense with nine kills and Crystal Lee added another six to keep the match competitive.
Georgia State cut the Red Wolves’ lead to 21-18 in the first frame after kills from Stinson and Sydney Stroud. Arkansas State took the first and second sets on Panther service errors.
Sophomore setter Sarah Renner totaled 20 assists and freshman libero Celeste Friesen battled for all 11 of her digs to counter the high-powered Arkansas State offense. Lee and Kaitlyn Dachs combined for 14 digs to help Friesen on the defensive end.
Head coach David Rehr and the Red Wolves advanced to the semis behind a well-balanced performance.
Carlisa May and Kenzie Fields teamed up for 19 kills. Fields was one kill shy of a double-double with nine kills and 12 digs. Senior setter Mallory Warrington helped run an efficient offense while dishing out 32 assists to go along with her nine digs. Senior libero Markie Shaedig added another nine digs for the Red Wolves.
Georgia State will travel back to Atlanta and look to build on a strong 2016 season. The Panthers have reached the SBC tournament in two of the last three seasons.
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