SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - The Georgia volleyball team opened its season with a 3-1 (25-13, 25-10, 23-25, 25-8) win over the Fordham Rams in the opening game of the San Francisco Invitational on Friday, August 29 in San Francisco, Calif.. The Bulldogs are now 1-0 on the year. The Bulldogs improve to 28-9 in season openers, including a 4-0 mark under Head Coach Lizzy Stemke.
The Bulldogs executed a strong offensive attack, posting a .323 team hitting percentage. The Georgia defense smothered Fordham, holding the Rams to a .000 hitting percentage. Amanda Dachs led Georgia offensively, posting 10 kills. Jasmine Eatmon finished with nine kills, while hitting .571. Lauren Teknipp added eight kills on a .471 efficiency. Kaylee Kehoe paced the offense with a match-high 37 assists. Desiree McCray led the Bulldogs at the net, posting a career-best eight blocks. Eatmon was also effectively defensively, tallying seven blocks. Tirah Le’au finished with a match-best 14 digs.
“Our serve and pass game was very steady tonight, which created some great rhythm for our side of the net,” Stemke said following the match. “We also came out with some very disciplined defense as a whole. Game three we let up. We have to mature as a team to hold our discipline until the end of the game. Overall, I thought that this was a very positive first match.”
Georgia started its season strong with a 25-13 victory in the first set of the match. Using the serve of Le’au, Georgia jumped out to a 4-2 lead. Fordham fought back, but a kill by Eatmon sparked a 4-0 Georgia run that allowed the Bulldogs to pull away 10-5. Holding a 13-9 lead, the Bulldogs scored three-straight points to force the Rams to use a timeout at the 16-9 mark. The Bulldogs kept their offensive rhythm going to take a 21-12 lead and force another Fordham timeout. Georgia allowed just one more point before taking the set 25-13.
The strong showing continued into the second set, as the Bulldogs took it 25-10. Georgia stormed out to an early 12-4 lead, which caused the Rams to use their first timeout of the set. Fordham picked up two of the next three points out of the break, but a service ace by Le’au sparked a 3-0 Georgia run that put the Bulldogs up 17-6. Fordham made it an eight point set at 18-10, but the Georgia used the serve of Teknipp to score the final seven points, including the set winner on a block by Eatmon, to take a 2-0 match lead.
After dropping the third set 25-23, the Bulldogs fought back to take the fourth and final set 25-8 to seal the win. Georgia raced out to a 10-2 lead with the help of three kills by Dachs and a pair of blocks. Holding an 11-4 lead, the Bulldogs scored seven of the next nine points to extend their lead to 18-6. Georgia would allow just two more Fordham points for the remainder of the match. The Bulldogs scored two of the final five points on blocks before an attack error on Fordham sealed the 3-1 match win.
Georgia is set to face SMU and tournament host San Francisco tomorrow, August 30 in the final day of the tournament. The Bulldogs will take on SMU at 1:30 p.m. ET, before facing San Francisco at 10 p.m. ET.