Aiken, S.C. – It was a battle of the conference champions as the 2018 PBC Tournament Champion Augusta Jaguars fell to the 2018 PBC Regular Season Champion USC Aiken Pacers 3-1. The Jaguars move to 16-6 on the season with a 1-2 conference record, while the Pacers improve to 21-1 overall and remain perfect at 5-0 in Peach Belt contests.
For offense, the Jags were led by Madison Malloch with 11 kills on 41 swings. Kylie Martin managed nine kills on the day, while Nicolette Ramos picked up eight. Kassie Till dished out a team high 25 assists and picked up a double-double with 11 digs.
On the defensive side, Augusta saw Holland Martin lead the way with 27 digs followed by Till's 11.
In the first set, Augusta found themselves behind 13-6 at the halfway point, prompting Coach Sharon Quarles to take a timeout and let her team regroup. This proved beneficial and the jags took four of the next six point to make it 15-10, forcing the Pacers to take a timeout of their own to stem the flow. After Aiken dominated nine of the next 10 points, Augusta had to take another timeout. The home squad just couldn't be stopped in the first set though, as they would close it out by a final score of 25-15.
For set number two, Augusta saw K. Martin and Jessica Hedrick team up for an outstanding block to give the Jags some momentum early on winning three of the first five points. After Aiken reclaimed the lead, both squads would end up trading points as the contest continued. Big defensive play from the team and devastating kills from Ramos spurred the Jags forward to reclaim the lead 9-8 near the midway point. Neither side could gain much of an advantage moving forward as the largest lead would continue to only be two points. Augusta finally picked up a three point lead at 19-16, which forced the Pacers to burn their first timeout of the set. Aiken jumped on the first point out of the break, but were unable to erase the deficit, as The Jaguars started to pull away 23-19 forcing another timeout from the Aiken bench. K. Martin brought the set to a close at 25-21 with a laser kill, evening the match at 1-1.
Augusta stumbled out of the gate in the third set, as the Pacers jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead. The Jags bounced back quickly though, eventually taking the lead at 6-5. Both squads were deadlocked at the halfway point, with Aiken clinging to a small lead at 14-12. A huge block from Till kept Aiken from pulling away and gave the visiting team some good momentum moving forward. Coach Quarles saw fit to take a timeout though, as the Jags still trailed 19-16. The timeout would benefit Aiken though, as the finished the set out with a 25-18 win.
The fourth set opened up with both teams trading points around. A H. Martin service ace to tie things up at six, forced the Pacers to take an early timeout. Solid defense from the Jags kept the score close every time Aiken looked like they were about to go on a run. Augusta needed to take a timeout though at 15-11, as the Pacers started to open some holes in the strong defense. Coming out of the time out, Aiken tightened up their defense and kept the Jaguars at bay for the remainder of the set, winning it 25-21.
Augusta will be back home for their next match when they take on Georgia College on Tuesday, Oct. 22nd at 7:00 p.m. at the Christenberry Fieldhouse.