Senior Ann Dylla recorded a season-high 15 kills on a .452 hitting percentage in Friday's win over Mississippi State.
Oct. 7, 2011
STARKVILLE, Miss. – For the second match in a row Georgia posted a come from behind victory by defeating Mississippi State, 3-1, on Friday evening at the Newell-Grissom Building.
In a battle of the Southeastern Conference's two Bulldog mascot schools, Georgia was edged by Mississippi State, 26-24, in the opening set but bounced back to win the match by taking straight sets with scores of 25-19, 25-15 and 25-18. With the win, UGA improved to 8-10 overall and 4-4 in SEC action while Mississippi State fell to 8-8 overall and 3-4 in league play.
"We are really proud of how we came out did what we have been building on all week," Georgia head coach Lizzy Stemke said. "We started the match a little slow not moving our feet as quick as we should, but we really evened out pretty quickly and that we are really excited about. We were able to take a deep breath and get back on track with the game plan and the aggressiveness that we've found in the last week. To do that on the road is a great feeling and a great accomplishment. Any road win in the SEC is a good win."
It marked the third time in six matches that Georgia has rallied from a 0-1 deficit to win in four sets. UGA dropped the opening sets to Ole Miss on Sept. 23 and to Auburn on Wednesday before rattling off three-straight set wins to complete each comeback victory. Friday's match was also Georgia's third contest in the past six days having played Florida on Sunday before hosting Auburn and traveling to Starkville.
"Obviously, we want to work on starting out strong, but what we've been able to do is not let any match get out of control because of a slow start," Stemke added. "We've been able to settle into the matches and really get on track with our game plan, our scouting report and build on what we've been doing well, which has been fighting on defense and our serve and pass game gets stronger throughout the match. Those are all good things to build on as we get deeper and deeper into SEC play."
Georgia led in every statistical category on Friday taking control of the match both offensively and defensively. On the attack, UGA finished with 63 kills on .336 hitting percentage with seven aces compared to MSU's 52 kills on a .232 mark and five aces. The .336 mark is the second highest hitting percentage of the season for UGA. Defensively, Georgia led in digs, 57 to 49, and led in blocks, 11.0 to 5.0.
For a second-straight match, four Georgia players finished with double-digit kills. Senior middle blocker Ann Dylla and sophomore outside hitter Brittany Northcutt led the way with 15 while redshirt sophomore outside hitter Kathleen Luft notched 14 and senior middle blocker Elizabeth Reid contributed 10. Dylla's 15 kills were a season high and came on a .452 hitting percentage as she had just one error in 31 attempts.
"This was a great win for us," Luft said. "Our play has been really good these past couple of matches. Against Auburn and tonight against Mississippi State we were down in the first set, but we've realized that we have to fight for each point and play hard to finish out the match and that's exactly what we did."
Pacing the offensive output was senior setter Kathleen Gates with 50 assists, and Gates recorded a double-double for the second-straight match as well by coming up with 14 digs. It was her team-leading sixth double-double effort. Supporting Gates in the passing game sophomore libero Allison Summers gave the Bulldogs from Athens a match-best 16 digs.
The UGA blocking output was directed by five stops from both Reid and junior right side hitter Briana Bahr. Dylla and Northcutt each finished with four blocks.
Mississippi State's top performance in the contest came from Caitlin Rance with a match-best 20 kills.
Friday's match at Mississippi State concluded play for UGA this weekend. Following an off-date this Sunday, Georgia returns to action at LSU on Friday, Oct. 14.