The Augusta University volleyball team is looking to start the fall season off right and has done so early with a 10-3 record after the first month. Head Coach Sharon Quarles is back after a successful 2020-21 season that saw the Jaguars win their third consecutive Peach Belt Conference title.
Senior Kylie Martin led the way for the Jags last season, being named MVP of the Spring 2021 PBC All-Tournament team. She led the team in points and kills, amassing 223.5 points for the season, including a season-high 27.5 points against Flagler in the PBC championship game.
The Jags started the season off with two losses, a pair of 3-1 matches to Embry-Riddle and Auburn University-Montgomery before rattling off nine wins in a row, including the last six of the Pacer Invitational. Martin, senior Chloe Allen and junior Alyssa Dutton were a big part of the winning streak. Martin had a season-high 12 kills in the Jags’ 3-0 win against Lincoln-Memorial. She currently has 115 kills on the season.
Allen has been an offensive and defensive juggernaut this season. She had a season-high eight blocks against North Greenville University while adding a season-high 15 points against Montevallo. She currently has 137.5 total points this season. Dutton has also been aggressive on the offensive end. She had 14 kills in the match against North Greenville University en route to her 70 total kills so far this season.
Quarles is entering her 13th year at AU. The team said they were grateful to have a full schedule, including the opportunity to play in the postseason after last year’s shortened campaign. She said this season’s roster is filled with veterans and feels they are a cohesive unit.
“We are 14 strong working as one,” she said. “Everyone knows their jobs and the expectation is set. Just give of yourself to help and support your teammate, and the rest will take care of itself.”
The Jaguars may be a veteran team, but they are always working to improve as the season carries on.
“(We are) still working on getting better with the smaller details of the game,” Quarles said before the season. “Serve, receive and defense is straight-up solid for us, and yet we continue to work on it like everything else. Just need daily touches.”
Five of their next seven matches are in their conference. The Jags are looking to get back to their winning ways after losing to Shorter University on Sept. 22. Quarles will treat the conference foes just like their non-conference foes.
“I think I am putting the same amount of emphasis on every match regardless of the opponent,” she said. “Each one has a different style of play when they step on the floor, and our test is to assess and evaluate and then go after and reach 25 first in every set we play. Our practices I feel help us to prepare and train way … to compete and score points.”
The Jaguars beat Georgia College 3-1 (25-15, 25-19, 20-25, 25-12) on Sept. 24 in Milledgeville, Georgia. Senior Alyssa Frazier and Martin each had 12 kills with senior Julie Archer adding 10. Junior Samantha Zittrauer had 24 assists and Martin added 19 digs.
The Jags travel to play conference rival USC Aiken on Sept. 28 before returning for their first home match Oct. 1 against Flagler College.