Samford Volleyball has had an up-and-down season, but the record books are about to be thrown out. The team sits at .500, with a 14-14 overall record. However, the Bulldogs have been peaking lately, winning five of their last seven matches. Getting hot at the right time, the team heads into the SoCon Tournament as the fourth seed in the conference.
Their most recent game was a five-set thriller against Mercer that ended in a loss for the Bulldogs. Gracie Lynn Butler capped her incredible regular season with an even 18 kills and 18 digs in the loss. Butler finished with 423 kills on the season, which is the best mark on the team. She finished second in digs, first in service aces
, and top-five in blocks and assists, proving her value as a do-it-all outside hitter.
Redshirt freshman Kaleigh Meritt has been a revelation in her first active season with Samford. The outside hitter finished second to Butler in kills and finished in the top five in digs, blocks and service aces. She had 15 kills and 15 digs in a standout performance against Mercer and looks to combine with Butler to be one of the most fearsome outside hitter combos in the conference.
The matchup for the Bulldogs in the SoCon Tournament is an all-too-familiar foe: the archrival Furman Paladins. In two matchups against Furman this season, Samford lost by a combined score of 6-3, losing 3-2 on the road and 3-1 in the Pete Hanna Center.
Gracie Lynn Butler was exceptional in the first game in Greenville. She was one kill shy of a career-high 25 and added nine digs to an outstanding night on the hardwood. However, Samford lost its legs in set five, as Furman won 15-5 in the decider. Head coach Keylor Chan reflected on the game.
“We created some opportunities to push forward. We ultimately fell short and will need to continue improving daily to reach our goals by season’s end,” Chan said.
The game was more one-sided in the second matchup with the Paladins, as Furman had great set pieces and dominated the point of attack. But these matchups against Furman seem like ancient history heading into Friday’s matchup against the Paladins.
Outside of Furman, the biggest threat to Samford’s tournament title hopes is, without question, The Citadel. The other Bulldogs sit at an impressive 26-2 overall and are the perennial favorite to take home the SoCon title after winning the regular season crown.
Samford remains focused on Furman, who they will face on Nov. 17 at 10:30 a.m.