Oct. 7, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Georgia volleyball team dropped a hard-fought 3-2 (26-24, 25-16, 22-15, 21-25, 14-16) decision to the Tennessee Lady Vols on Sunday afternoon in Knoxville, Tenn. With the loss, Georgia falls to 9-7 on the season and 3-4 in the Southeastern Conference, while UT improves to 11-6 overall and 4-3 in league play.
"We came out really strong in games one and two," head coach Lizzy Stemke said. "We were proud of how we executed our game plan, particularly in those first sets. Tennessee came back really aggressive in games three and four. We, as a team, let down just a little bit and on the road in the SEC, you have to keep the pressure on. We had a really tough, hard-fought fifth set that could have gone either way. It is important to take away that this team is getting better, and we are fighting harder for every point."
Brittany Northcutt led the way 19 kills and 14 digs for her fifth double-double of the season. Tirah Le'au went 16-for-34 with five errors to hit at an impressive .324 clip. Briana Bahr added 14 kills in 28 attempts. Jasmine Eatmon finished with two service aces. Defensively, Elena Perri led the Bulldogs with eight blocks, while Bahr added six. Eatmon finished with four blocks, including one solo stop. Allison Summers led the team in digs with 22, while Kaylee Kehoe finished with 32 assists.
After tying three times in the opening points of set one, the Bulldogs were able to take advantage of a Lady Vol service error that put them on top 8-6. Georgia scored the next two points thanks to a service ace by Eatmon and a Northcutt kill. A pair of Tennessee blocks put the Lady Vols within one at 11-10, but a Kehoe kill sparked a 3-0 run that put the Bulldogs up by four at 14-10. Tennessee made it a 15-13 set on a kill by Leslie Cikra, but Bahr answered with a kill that allowed Georgia to retake a 16-13 lead. With the Bulldogs holding the lead, Tennessee scored five of the next six points to tie the set at 19. A trio of kills by Bahr allowed Georgia to have set point at 24-21, but the Lady Vols scored three straight to tie the set at 24. Georgia responded by scoring the final two points to take set one 26-24.
Georgia opened up to a 7-2 lead in the second set, including a 4-0 run that saw a kill and a pair of Bulldogs blocks. Tennessee cut the lead to four a 10-6, but a kill by Northcutt put Georgia up 11-6. Georgia went on a 6-2 run that ended with an Eatmon kill that allowed the Bulldogs to extend their lead to 20-12. UGA scored three of the final five points to take the second set 25-16.
The teams kept the third set close, with neither team taking more than a two-point lead until Tennessee got a pair of kills that allowed it to take a 9-6 lead and force Georgia to call a timeout. Following the break, kills by Perri and Northcutt brought the Bulldogs within one at 9-8. After tying at 10 and 11, Georgia took a 13-11 lead with the help of kill by Northcutt and Le'au. The Bulldogs kept the edge, until a UT block tied the set at 16. The teams tied six more times until Tennessee pulled away and took the set 25-22.
The Lady Vols jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the fourth set, but a pair of kills by Le'au made it a two-point set at 6-4. Tennessee answered with a pair of points that forced the Bulldogs to take their first timeout of the set. Kills by Northcutt and Le'au brought Georgia within two at 8-6, but Tennessee scored three-straight to take an 11-6 lead. The teams went back-and-forth for the remainder of the set, but the Bulldogs couldn't take the lead from the Lady Vols, falling 25-21 and forcing a fifth and deciding set.
Neither team was able to take more than a one-point lead during the opening points of the deciding set that saw the teams tie three times. A pair of kills by Eatmon and Le'au gave the Bulldogs a 6-4 lead and forced Tennessee to use a timeout. Following the UT timeout, the Lady Vols scored two-straight points that tied the set at six. A Lady Vol kill by Tiffany Baker sparked a 3-0 run that put Tennessee up 10-8 and caused Georgia to use a timeout. Trailing 12-9, Georgia got kills by Northcutt, Le'au and Bahr to bring the set within one at 12-11. Tennessee then scored two of the next three points to earn match point at 14-12. A kill by Le'au and a Lady Vol attack error tied the set at 14, but Tennessee was able to score the final two points to take the set 16-14 and the match 3-2.
Georgia returns to the friendly confines of the Ramsey Center on Oct. 12 when it hosts the Auburn Tigers at 7 p.m.