Lizzy Stemke won her debut at the helm of the Georgia program on Friday night.
Aug. 26, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. – University of Georgia volleyball head coach Lizzy Stemke made her Georgia debut Friday night as the Bulldogs swept Liberty, 3-0, in day one of the Hotel Indigo Bulldog Invitational at the Ramsey Student Center.
Georgia (1-0) took both of the first two sets 25-21 and the third set 25-20 over Liberty (0-1) in the first match of the 2011 season in front of a crowd of 833.
“Getting a win in our opener is great," Stemke said. "We talked all week about being disciplined and our main concern was to come out and play point-by-point with discipline. I felt we started the match with the nervous jitters, and that's to be expected. With every single play we got more and more calm, and we played better, stronger and more disciplined with every single point. Our team should feel very excited about what we accomplished in our first match."
Junior right side hitter Briana Bahr led the Bulldog attack with a match-best 12 kills followed by sophomore outside hitter Kathleen Luft’s 11. Luft also helped lead the Bulldogs defensively coming away with a double-double by adding 10 digs to go along with four blocks, two solo and two assisted with senior middle hitter Elizabeth Reid. Sophomore libero Allison Summers led the match with 15 digs, and senior Kathleen Gates tallied 41 assists in leading the Bulldogs to a .233 hitting percentage.
"It's very exciting," Luft said. "The first game you don't know what's going to happen with how we are going to transition everything we do in practice to a game, but after that win I feel like we have a lot of confidence. We were down sometimes, but we just kept our cool and fought back. It's very exciting."
Liberty sophomore Lillie Happel had 11 kills while junior Loren Thomas collected a game-high seven blocks for the visiting Flames.
The Bulldogs fell behind early in the first set, but were able to put together an eight-point rally behind three Brittany Northcutt kills to pull ahead 14-9. Liberty answered back to cut the Georgia lead 15-14, but after a Bulldog timeout, the home team kept momentum on its side with a pair of kills each from Bahr and Luft en route to taking the first set.
Georgia notched the first point of the second set before Liberty built an 8-4 lead. Georgia kept fighting, as a 9-2 run put it in the Bulldogs’ favor at 13-10. After six lead changes, Georgia was up 21-20 and finished off the set with two kills from Luft and a block by Gates.
The third set started much the same for Georgia, as Liberty tabbed an 8-6 lead after a five-point spree. However, Georgia answered with a spree of its own, an 11-4 run that included two kills from Reid and an ace by Gates that put the Bulldogs up 17-12. UGA did not trail the rest of the set as the Bulldogs took the third set, 25-20 after outhitting Liberty .379 to .192.
Day two of the Hotel Indigo Bulldog Invitational continues on Saturday with Liberty taking on Kansas at 10 a.m. followed by Georgia and Florida A&M at 12:30 p.m. In the evening session, Liberty and Florida A&M meet at 4:30 p.m. before Georgia and Kansas conclude the tournament at 7 p.m.
2011 Hotel Indigo Bulldog Invitational Remaining Schedule & Results:
Friday, Aug. 26:
Kansas def. Florida A&M, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-10)
Georgia def. Liberty, 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-20)
Saturday, Aug. 27
10 a.m. – Kansas vs. Liberty
12:30 p.m. – Florida A&M vs. Georgia
4:30 p.m. Liberty vs. Florida A&M
7 p.m. – Kansas vs. Georgia