Elizabeth Reid recorded a career-high 10 blocks at Arkansas on Sunday.
Oct. 16, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Redshirt sophomore Kathleen Luft recorded a career-high 22 kills and Georgia had a season-high 15.5 team blocks as the Bulldogs outlasted the Arkansas Razorbacks in five sets at Barnhill Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Georgia went to a fifth set for just a second time this season and earned the victory by taking the decisive frame 15-11. The Bulldogs had won the first and third sets, 25-23 and 25-22, and Arkansas had won the second and fourth sets 25-17 and 25-22. With the win, Georgia improved to 9-11 overall and 5-5 in Southeastern Conference action at the half-way point in league play. Arkansas dropped to 12-8 overall and 4-5 in SEC matches.
"We came out aggressive from the beginning," Georgia head coach Lizzy Stemke said. "It was a very competitive match on both sides and a great road win for us. We continued to show we are improving, and these are the kind of wins that show a major team effort."
In a neck-and-neck match, Georgia and Arkansas both recorded 66 kills but the Bulldogs had a slight edge in hitting percentage at .207 to .191. Defensively, Georgia recorded the season-best 15.5 blocks compared to Arkansas' 13.5, and the Bulldogs also matched their season-best 75 digs while the Razorbacks had 73.
Luft notched the career-high 22 kills on a .327 hitting percentage as the Bulldogs offense was guided by 58 assists from senior setter Kathleen Gates. Supporting Luft on the attack, sophomore Brittany Northcutt came away with 13 kills, junior Brianna Bahr had 12 and senior Elizabeth Reid contributed nine.
"Luft came out with a great mindset today starting in warm-ups during pregame and we could just tell she was in a really good place," Stemke noted. "She did a great job of staying aggressive and keeping the ball in play when our defense needed to get to work. The other thing about her play today was with her blocking. Luft made some really good blocking moves that kept our defense organized."
The 15.5 blocks were paced by a career-high 10 from Reid, a career-high six from Luft and five from Northcutt. Reid's 10 blocks were the most by a Bulldog since Valentina Gonzalez recorded 12 against Alabama on Oct. 1, 2010. That contest against Alabama was also the last time Georgia recorded 15 or more blocks as a team.
The Bulldogs' strong defensive outing also included their second 75-dig match of the season which was led by senior Carla Tietz with her season-best at 19. Sophomore Allison Summers added 16 and Northcutt came away with her fourth double-double of 2011 with 14 digs.
"Our back-court communication is really what helped us today," Tietz said. "We talked about our lanes, responsibility and who had to do what, so the communication helped us today. We re-grouped as a team after Friday and we focused on our fight and all-out effort on every point and that was important for us."
Arkansas' top performances came from Jasmine Norton and Kelli Stipanovich with 22 and 20 kills, respectively.
Up next, Georgia will face each SEC opponent once more this season beginning with contests at home against Kentucky and Tennessee next weekend. The Bulldogs will face the Wildcats on Friday at 7 p.m. ET and the Lady Volunteers at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.