Seniors Kathleen Gates and Ann Dylla at Auburn on Wednesday.
Nov. 23, 2011
AUBURN, Ala. – The University of Georgia volleyball team fell in its season finale to Auburn, 3-0, on Wednesday evening at the Student Activities Center.
Auburn earned the 3-0, Southeastern Conference win with identical set scores of 25-21 in every set, and the Tigers close their season at 11-19 overall and 5-15 in SEC action.
Georgia's 2011 campaign closes at 11-19 overall and 7-13 in league play, tying the Bulldogs for sixth in the final SEC standings, and the match was the final collegiate contest for four senior Bulldogs – middle blocker Ann Dylla, setter Kathleen Gates, middle blocker Elizabeth Reid and defensive specialist Carla Tietz.
"We are just extremely proud of our four seniors," First-year Georgia head coach Lizzy Stemke said. "They deserve a lot of credit for opening this program up to a new staff in this transition. We believe that their effort off the court and on the court is really what we are going to build this program on and they set the tone."
Dylla and Gates started every match (123) and played every set (465) of their four-year career. The 465 sets played ranks 10th in school history. Meanwhile, Tietz played in every match except one in her four-years as a Bulldog (122) missing only five sets.
Gates also finishes her career ranked third in career assists with 4,684 while Dylla closes her time as a Bulldog ranked second in career block assists with 414 and fourth in total blocks with 457. Tietz's colligate career ends with 1,475 digs, which ranks second-best all-time at UGA.
In a very closely contested match on Wednesday, Georgia and Auburn battled through 30 ties and 16 lead changes. In every set, neither team led by more than three until Auburn scored the final point of each frame to win all three by four at 25-21.
The Tigers hit .287 as a team behind nine kills from Brittney Rhude and Kelly Fidero. Auburn also led the contest with 11.0 blocks to Georgia's 4.0 and 41 digs to the Bulldogs 38. Georgia hit at a .170 clip with a team-best 11 kills from redshirt sophomore Kathleen Luft. Sophomore libero Allison Summers had a match-best 19 digs.
Georgia's final conference record of 7-13 places the Bulldogs in a tie for the sixth spot in the final league standings behind Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, LSU and Arkansas. Tennessee has clinched at least a share of the SEC title and will win it outright with a win over Kentucky as the two teams were meeting Wednesday evening in Knoxville, Tenn. Mississippi State had wrapped up its season this past Sunday and also finished with a 7-13 league record to tie for the sixth spot, and Ole Miss can also tie the two Bulldog schools for sixth with a win on Friday against Alabama. The sixth place finish in 2011 comes in at two spots higher than the 2010 squads eighth-place finish.
"We have improved from last year and we've set attendance records, but more importantly, we really believe our foundation of expectation has been set," Stemke said. "We are ready to start 2012 as soon as possible."