FMU volleyball: Patriots fall to Pirates on Senior Night

Armand Broady, Sports Writer

Senior Night was spoiled for Francis Marion seniors Mallory Eggert and Kelsie Deaton as FMU’s volleyball team fell to the Armstrong Atlantic State Pirates on Friday, Nov. 5 in five sets 3-2 (25-22, 14-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-8).

Emotions ran high for Head Coach Paul MacDonald, who took a moment to reflect on the careers of Deaton and Eggert, who are both four-year starters.

“You don’t replace kids like them (Eggert and Deaton),” MacDonald said. “They have both matured in their game, and they set a great example for our program.”

Heading into the game against Armstrong Atlantic State, libero Kelsie Deaton ranked second in the Peach Belt Conference with 5.12 digs per match. Deaton has put up stellar career numbers, ranking fourth in the Peach Belt Conference all-time and second all-time at Francis Marion with 1,808 digs. Leading up to the meeting with the Pirates, Deaton had amassed 11 matches this season alone of 20 or more digs. The 5’6” product of Martinsville, Ind. has played in more than 120 matches in her career and is a leader on the Patriots’ volleyball squad.

Kelsie’s parents, Don and Kim Deaton, could not help but smile with pride as they watched their daughter take the floor for one of the last times as a collegiate athlete.

“It’s emotional, exciting and sad, but we’re very proud,” Kim Deaton said. “She has worked hard to get here, having played volleyball since she was 13 years old.”

Deaton’s father, Don, was more focused on the Pirates.

“We just want to win,” Don Deaton said.

Middle blocker Mallory Eggert went into Senior Night ranking fifth in the Peach Belt Conference with 0.85 blocks per set and sixth in attack percentage (.280). For her career, Eggert has well over 700 career kills and 400 total blocks, ranking 12th on the all-time blocks list for the Peach Belt Conference.

Eggert’s parents Mike and Liz and her brother Mike came down from Lake Elmo, Minn. to see their daughter and sister on Senior Night.

“We’re very proud of what she’s been able to do here,” Mike Eggert said. “She’s really turned into a beautiful young lady, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Mallory’s mother, Liz, shared this sentiment.

“I’m sure she’ll hold dear all the teammates and friends she has made,” Liz Eggert said.

Good hustle by FMU forced AASU to call an early timeout in the first set. The Pirates would come back to win the first set, however, 25-22. Intensity really rose in the second set when FMU jumped out to a 12-5 lead. As the second set marched on, both coaching staffs grew frustrated with some calls made by the officials. On more than one occasion, play was stopped by either Coach MacDonald or by AASU Head Coach Will Condon to ensure that the score was correct.

After trailing the match two sets to one, the Patriots stormed back to win an exciting fourth set before falling in the fifth and final set, 15-8. The loss dropped FMU’s record to 15-14 overall with a conference record of 4-9, while Armstrong Atlantic State’s record improved to 18-12 overall and 7-6 in Peach Belt Conference matches.