Sept. 13, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. - Brittany Northcutt picked up her second double-double in as many matches, as the Georgia volleyball team earned a 3-1 (25-23, 25-27, 25-13, 25-20) win over the North Florida Ospreys on Friday evening, Sept. 13, in front of over 2,000 fans at Stegeman Coliseum in the Benson's Hospitality Invitational. With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 6-1 on the year, while North Florida falls to 3-5.
Northcutt finished with a team-best 12 kills to go along with 15 digs in her double-double performance. Stacey Smith added 11 kills for the Bulldogs, followed by Lauren Teknipp who registered nine. Helping spark the Georgia offense were nine service aces, including a career-best five by Kaylee Kehoe. Kehoe also led the team with 23 assists. Elena Perri finished with a team-leading five blocks, followed by Tirah Le'au who added four. Allison Summers led the Bulldogs with 18 digs.
"We had some jitters early in the match, but I think we were able to settle in and tighten up towards the end," Head Coach Lizzy Stemke said. "Playing in this arena and in this type of environment is exciting and helps us prepare for the rest of the season. The turnaround is quick and it's going to take some mental toughness to put this match away because we are expecting two competitive matches here tomorrow. When you play two matches in one day, you have to be able to adjust quickly from one opponent to the next. It will be a great test for this group, but it will also give the team an opportunity to push themselves to get better."
Georgia took an early 3-1 lead in the first set before North Florida tied the set at three on a block by Kelly Koop. The teams tied six teams before the Ospreys edged out to a 10-8 lead. North Florida maintained a slight lead until a block by Smith and Perri tied the set at 11. The score knotted five more times before a service error, a Kehoe ace and a ball handling error allowed the Bulldogs to pull ahead by three at 19-16. North Florida made it a 21-20 set before tying it up on a service ace. The score was tied at 22 and 23 before a back-to-back service aces by Chloe Buckendahl sealed the 25-23 set one win.
Georgia opened up to a 7-4 lead in the second set with the help of a Northcutt service ace and kills by Le'au and Teknipp. With the Bulldogs holding a 15-12 lead, a UNF kill and service ace made it a one-point set at 15-14 and forced Georgia to use a timeout. The Ospreys strung together four-straight points to take an 18-16 lead. Kills by Northcutt and Teknipp ended the run and tied the set at 18. The teams tied six more times before a pair of blocks gave North Florida the 27-25 win in the second set.
Using the serve of Kehoe and Northcutt, Georgia was able to jump out to an 11-3 lead in the third set, forcing North Florida to use both of its timeouts. North Florida made it a four-point set at 14-10, but Georgia continued to control the set, allowing the Ospreys to score just three more points. With the Bulldogs holding a 22-13 lead, a trio of errors by North Florida allowed the Bulldogs to take the third set by a score of 25-13.
The dominance continued into the fourth and final set, as Georgia stormed out to a 10-4 lead with the help of kills by Le'au, Smith, Jasmine Eatmon and Teknipp. North Florida fought its way back, tying the set at 12 and 13 before a kill by Buckendahl sparked a 3-0 run that gave the Bulldogs a 16-13 advantage. North Florida made it a four-point set at 20-16 on a kill by Cameron McGuire. A Kehoe service ace gave the Bulldogs match point before Smith sealed the 25-20 set four win and the 3-1 victory with a kill.
Georgia gets back in action tomorrow, Sept. 14, at 1 p.m., when it takes on the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns. The Bulldogs will close out the Benson's Hospitality Invitational at 7 p.m., when they host UNC Greensboro.