In a crucial conference match you were able to watch on ESPNU and follow here at Dawg Sports, Lizzy Stemke’s Georgia women’s volleyball team took care of business at the Ramsey Student Center on Wednesday night, overcoming an early deficit to take three straight sets from rival Auburn.
The Bulldogs dropped the opening set, 25-19, before going on a run that saw the Red and Black take the match’s second stanza from the visiting Tigers by a tight 25-22 margin. The home team then triumphed by consecutive 25-19 scores in the third and fourth sets to claim the victory that saw Georgia improve to 7-10 on the season. Auburn fell to 9-8, and both teams left the premises sporting 3-4 ledgers in SEC play.
The Athenians’ kill count climbed as the match continued, as the Bulldogs carded 11 kills in the first set, 12 in the second, 14 in the third, and 18 in the fourth. The Alabamians saw a corresponding decline, as they could not match in the later sets the 15 kills claimed by Auburn during each of the first two sets. Sarah Bullock led the way for the Orange and Blue, notching a pair of aces, 17 kills, and 20 digs, but her efforts were countered by Georgia’s Kelly Fidero (13 kills, two blocks), Kathleen Gates (12 digs, two aces), and Brittany Northcutt (14 kills, nine digs). Four Georgia players recorded double-digit kill tallies, and the 75 digs registered by the ‘Dawgs were the most by the Classic City Canines in almost three years. Allison Summers led the way with 23 digs, a career high for her.
The victory gave the Bulldogs their third win of a five-game homestand, and the Red and Black now must go on the road, as five of their next seven matches will be played in campus venues other than their own. Next up for Georgia are contests at Mississippi State on Friday night, at Louisiana State on October 14, and at Arkansas on October 16.
Coach Stemke’s team is young---ten of the 16 volleyball players on the team’s roster are freshmen or sophomores---but this was a big win for the improving program, which may springboard a solid season if the Red and Black can negotiate the slate of away games lying before them.