Oct. 23, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. - The 20th-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers came away with a 3-1 win over the Georgia Bulldogs in a closely contest Southeastern Conference match on Sunday afternoon at the Ramsey Student Center.
In a match that featured 42 ties and 20 lead changes, the SEC leading Volunteers (18-3, 11-1 SEC) won the first and second sets, 25-15 and 25-23, before Georgia (9-13, 5-7 SEC) bounced back to take the third set in extra-points at 28-26. Tennessee then earned the victory by winning the fourth set 25-21.
"We made much quicker adjustments tonight," Georgia head coach Lizzy Stemke said. "We went in with a game plan, and we were able to adjust as Tennessee adjusted. That is something that we didn't see on Friday night (against Kentucky), so to have that mental energy today really impressed me."
Tennessee held a narrow lead in the match in kills, 56 to 48, aces, six to four, and digs, 61 to 57, but Georgia was ahead in blocks at 15.0 to 11.0. Only five of the matches 42 ties came in the opening set as the Bulldogs gave the Volunteers a battle in the remaining sets with 10 ties in the second set, 14 in the third and 13 in the fourth.
Kelsey Robinson recorded a double-double for UT by leading the match in kills and digs with 19 and 18, respectively. Robinson's output was paced by Mary Pollmiller's 53 assists and was supported by 12 kills from DeeDee Harrison.
Georgia's top kill performance came from sophomore outside hitter Brittany Northcutt as senior setter Kathleen Gates dished out 39 assists. Defensively, sophomore libero Allison Summer had a team-best 16 digs while senior middle blocker Ann Dylla tied a career-high with nine blocks. Seven of Dylla's stops were blocks assists raising her career total to 400, which makes Dylla just the third play in school history to reach the 400 mark. Overall, Dylla now has 440 total career blocks.
In the first set, Tennessee was able to use multiple scoring drives and strong defense to hold off the Bulldogs 25-15, but Georgia then came out aggressive early in the second set jumping out to a -3-1 lead. The Lady Vols climbed back in the frame and led at 14-11 before the Bulldogs put together a five-point run capped by a block from Dylla and Northcutt to go up 16-15. The two teams then battled to several ties including at 22-22 before the Lady Vols took the set 25-23.
Out of the break, two different scoring runs started the third set in favor of the Bulldogs. A 3-0 spree that consisted of kills from senior Elizaebeth Reid and Northcutt and an ace from Smiley gave Georgia its first lead at 3-1. A few points later, a 6-1 run put Georgia up 9-4. UT made its way back and the teams stayed in a tightly-matched contest before the Lady Vols found a 20-17 lead. After a Georgia timeout, the Bulldogs rallied back, and blocks from Le'au, Reid and Luft helped tie the game at 24-24. UT got to set point at 26-25, but a kill from Northcutt and blocks by Northcutt and Dylla gave Georgia the win at 28-26.
The back-and-forth scoring continued the fourth set as the score was tied eight times befores UT took an 11-8 lead. Down 15-11, Georgia accumulated a 5-1 run to tie the set again at 16-16. The Bulldogs eventually took the lead at 20-19, but the Lady Vols closed the set on a 6-2 run to win it and the match, 25-21.
"We were focusing on every single ball and having a lot of energy after each point because each point is really important against good teams like Tennessee," said freshman Gaby Smiley, who recorded eight digs in the contest. "We are improving every single day. We are really focused on getting better and want to get as much as we can out of each match and practice."
Georgia returns to action on the road next weekend traveling to Alabama and Ole Miss. The Bulldogs will play the Crimson Tide (10-12, 3-8 SEC) in Tuscaloosa on Friday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. ET, and the Rebels (5-14, 1-10 SEC) in Oxford on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2:30 p.m.