Nov. 4, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. - The University of Georgia volleyball team held off Arkansas to post a five-set victory and kickoff Alumni Weekend at the Ramsey Student Center on Friday evening.
Georgia (10-15, 6-9 Southeastern Conference) won the first and third sets, 25-15 and 25-23, while Arkansas (16-9, 8-6 SEC) took the second and fourth sets, 25-23 and 25-21, to push the match to a fifth set. In the decisive frame, the Bulldogs used a 6-0 run to go up 13-7 en route to holding off the Razorbacks 15-12 for the 3-2 victory. It marked Georgia's third five-set contest of the season and their second against Arkansas. The Bulldogs rallied from behind to defeat the Razorbacks in five sets in Fayetteville on Oct. 16, and with Friday's win earn a sweep of the season series between the schools.
"This was a really hard fought match for both sides," Georgia head coach Lizzy Stemke said. "Of course, we're excited for the win, but I am most excited about is that way we played, the way we executed and the way we fought. We had a tough week of practice. Our goal was to fight with passion, and we did that from point one. In this league, it is important to set the tone from point one. We came out tonight with a real determination and that was exciting to see."
For the fifth time this season Georgia recorded more than 70 digs in a match by coming away with 73 led by sophomore libero Allison Summers' 21. Senior Carla Tietz and Brittany Northcutt each added 14 digs while senior Kathleen Gates contributed 10.
"Games like tonight are the times that we show our fight and our passion the most," Summers said. "We went into the match knowing that we needed to battle for every point. It's nerve-wracking at times, but it's also really exciting to see it all come together."
On the offensive side of the net, Georgia was led by Northcutt's 16 kills and Gates' 51 assists as both players finished with double-doubles. For Northcutt it was her fifth double-double, and for Gates it was her team-leading eighth. Aiding their effort on the attack junior Briana Bahr posted a career-high 15 kills on a .303 hitting percentage and senior Ann Dylla provided 10 kills on a .450 clip.
Overall, the two teams played a close match statistically with Georgia gaining the edge in hitting percentage, .272 -.202, digs, 73-72 and blocks 10.0-6.0. Arkansas held a narrow led in kills, 65-61, and aces, 9-8.
The Razorbacks were led by Jasmine Norton and Kelli Stipanovich in the match as each recorded a double-double. Norton had a match-best 27 kills to go with 11 digs, and Stipanovich notched 13 kills and 17 digs. Christa Alvarez had a team-best 19 digs for Arkansas.
Alumni Weekend at UGA continues on Saturday with breakfast, a facilities tour and attending the football team's homecoming game against New Mexico State. Then on Sunday, the Bulldogs wrap up Alumni Weekend when they return to action against LSU (15-8, 8-5 SEC). First serve between the Bulldogs and Tigers is slated for 1:30 p.m. ET. Admission is free and the first 25 groups of four UGA students will receive free pizza. Live video and stats will also be available at www.georgiadogs.com.
Bulldogs in Athens for Alumni Weekend include: Jill (Moore) Bochniak, 1988-91; Kelsey Burkett, 2007-08; Nikki (Nicholson) Chester, 1992-95; Jane (Lembke) Colson, 1979-82; Casey DeLong, 1999-02; Kristin (Hackley) Escher, 1987-90; Jennifer Foytich, 1999-02; Valentina Gonzalez, 2007-10; Erin Gornes, 1998-01; Angela Hale, 2002-05; Renee Johnson, 2006-07; Dianne (Rohde) Mangold, 1983-86, Simone May, 2007-10; Jennie Metz, 2001-04; Alexis Morgan, 2005-07; Kelli Ogden-Hillier, 1986-89; Angelica Partridge, 2005-08; Margot (Wallace) Peterson, 2001-04; Brinkley (Burks) Pound, 1978; Leslie (Laury) Tarvin, 1978; Maria Taylor, 2005-08; Julia (Petruschke) Vining, 2002-05; Katie Winschel, 2006-07; Chelsea Young, 2005-07.