Grand Island, Neb. – The College of Coastal Georgia women's volleyball team dropped its season-opening match 3-0 Friday afternoon to No. 8 Columbia (Mo.) at the Heartland Events Center.

The match was the first of three for the Mariner this weekend in the Bill Marshall Volleyball Classic hosted by Hastings College during the Nebraska State Fair.

Coastal Georgia, which is receiving votes for the national Top 25, will play twice on Saturday. The Mariners are scheduled to face Oklahoma City at 11 a.m. before playing top-ranked and defending national champion Hastings at 5 p.m.

On Friday, the Cougars took the opening set 25-17 before claiming the second set 25-20 and then winning the third stanza 25-14 to close out the win.

For the match, the Mariners hit just .063 with 19 kills and 25 attack errors. Addie Pedraza and Kyra White both led the Mariners with five kills each. Ashley Kot had 12 assists for the Mariners.

The Cougars finished the match hitting .250 as a team with 35 total kills against 12 attack errors. Peiyi Liu led the Missouri school with nine kills while Caroline Clifford posted eight kills. Yamilet Vazquez recorded 22 assists.

Defensively, the Cougars finished with 45 digs. Gabriela Walton led the team with 16 while Clifford followed with 13. Columbia also registered 10 blocks as a team.

The Mariners finished with 39 total digs. Laney Green notched 12 while Kot followed with nine.

Columbia reached the quarterfinals of the NAIA national championship tournament last season after winning its 21st American Midwest Conference championship in 24 years.

The Mariners open the 2017 campaign as the favorite to win the Sun Conference in a preseason poll conducted by the league coaches. Coastal Georgia returns eight players from last year's team which won a third straight Southern States Athletic Conference tournament title and also reached the final site of the NAIA tournament a third consecutive season.