Freshman Tirah Le'au had a match-best 12 kills vs. Georgia Tech on Friday.
Sept. 9, 2011
ATLANTA - The University of Georgia volleyball team fell in its opening match of the Georgia Tech Regency Suites Invitational to the host Yellow Jackets, 3-0, in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,384 at O'Keefe Gymnasium on Friday evening.
Georgia Tech (5-2) earned the victory over Georgia (3-5) with set scores of 25-23, 25-19 and 25-22, but the match was closely contested throughout. The Yellow Jackets held the lead in the match in hitting percentage, .266 to .202, and blocks, 6.0 to 5.0, while the Bulldogs led the contest in kills, 38 to 35, and digs, 27-22.
"We have been talking about mini games, and each point is a mini game," Georgia head coach Lizzy Stemke said. "We are so proud of the way we fought tonight. We haven't seen that length of fight yet, and tonight we made a huge step forward because that fight was there every point. We executed a game plan and the trust out there is coming."
"Tirah had an absolute coming out party tonight," Stemke said. "That's a kid who has been playing on the right for us all preseason and played on the right her entire life. We throw her in the L1 position and she hits .476 against a really great blocking and defensive team. She had an absolute night and that's exciting for the future of the program."
"We never gave up that's for sure," Le'au added. "We trusted in our training to get us through tonight to get one step closer to our goal, and we are improving."
Leading the Yellow Jackets on Friday was Monique Mead and Asia Stawicka. Mead had a team-best 11 kills and Stawicka added eight kills and four blocks.
In the first set, the two teams battled back and forth early and late in the set. Georgia Tech used a 7-1 run to pull away in the middle of the set going up four at 15-11, but Georgia answered with a 7-4 run to get within one at 19-18 and was still within one at 24-23 before the Yellow Jackets got the final point to take the set.
The second frame then witnessed Georgia Tech jump out to an early 4-1 lead, and later the Yellow Jackets used a 4-0 run to make it 11-4 and a 6-0 run to extend the advantage to 18-7. Georgia did not go quietly though climbing back into it with a 10-4 run of its own to make it 22-17, but Tech would hold on to take it 25-19.
In the third set, Georgia took a timeout trailing 7-3, and out of the stoppage of play, the two teams exchanged points until the Bulldogs went on a 3-0 run to pull within one at 13-12. However, Georgia Tech would not relinquish the lead en route to winning the set 25-22 to take the match.
Georgia returns to action in the Regency Suites Invitational with two matches on Saturday. UGA faces Samford (8-0) at 10:30 a.m. and Mercer (1-7) at 4:30 p.m. Live stats for both matches will be available through www.ramblinwreck.com.
"Tomorrow is a super important day for the Bulldogs," Stemke noted. "We face two teams who are going to be gunning for us. They're going to give us their best effort. We're obviously not going to have the noise and the atmosphere that we had tonight, but I think we fed off of that tonight so we need to find the drive and the passion of every point within ourselves tomorrow as we face two really scrappy teams."
Georgia Tech Regency Suites Invitational Results & Remaining Schedule:
Friday, Sept. 9:
Samford def. Mercer, 3-0 (25-10, 25-22, 25-18)
Georgia Tech def. Georgia, 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-22)
Saturday, Sept. 10:
10:30 a.m. - Georgia vs. Samford
12:30 p.m. - Georgia Tech vs. Mercer
4:30 p.m. - Georgia vs. Mercer
7:00 p.m. - Georgia Tech vs. Samford