Nov. 23, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. - The University of Georgia volleyball team concluded its regular season with a 3-0 (21-25, 22-25, 19-25) loss to the 14th-ranked and Southeastern Conference Champion Florida Gators on Friday evening at the Ramsey Center. With the loss, Georgia ends its season with a 14-16 record that includes an 8-12 record in SEC play. Florida moves to 25-4 on the season and 19-1 in league play. Prior to today's contest, the Bulldogs honored seniors Briana Bahr and Nicole Choi.
"Florida proved tonight why they are the best team in the conference," said head coach Lizzy Stemke. "But, I cannot be prouder of our team and how they attacked their game plan, their execution and their effort. They fought so hard for each other and for the seniors here, and I'm really proud of the way we played. It just means great things for this program moving forward. I know this match will be burning in their heads for the next seven or eight months."
Tirah Le'au led the Bulldogs for the fourth-straight match, finishing with 10 kills, while Lauren Teknipp finished with five. Kaylee Kehoe paced the offense with 15 assists. Bahr led the Bulldogs defensively, finishing with six blocks, including one solo block. Elena Perri racked up five blocks, while Jasmine Eatmon and Teknipp finished with three blocks each. Allison Summers finished with a match-high 24 digs to lead Georgia.
"Allie [Summers] has absolutely evolved not only as a leader but also as a libero," said Stemke. "This was a new position for her last year, and I'm just so proud of how she came out tonight. She just trusted her training and trusted her skill. She trusted her ability to take over the backcourt, and that was very apparent and just really exciting for the future."
Georgia took its first lead of the opening set early, using a kill by Teknipp and a Florida error to move out to a 6-4 lead. The Bulldogs maintained the edge until kill by Betsey Smith sparked a 3-0 Gator run that put them up 12-9 and forced Georgia to use a timeout. A Buckendahl service ace brought Georgia to within one at 14-13, before a trio of points put Florida up 17-13. Another 3-0 run by Florida put the Gators up 20-15, but the Bulldogs used a block by Teknipp and Eatmon to pull within three at 23-20. Florida went on to score two of the final three points to win the first set 25-21.
Florida opened up to a 4-2 lead early in the second set before a Kehoe kill and a Gator error tied the set at five. The Gators then scored five of the next six points to take a 10-6 lead before Perri ended the run with a kill and Bahr registered a block to make it a two-point set at 10-8. A 4-0 Gator run put them up 16-10 before a Northcutt kill ended the run. On the serve of Buckendahl, Georgia pulled within three at 17-14 before making it a two-point set at 18-17 on a Teknipp and Perri block that forced Florida to use a timeout. Florida retook a five-point lead at 22-17 that caused the Bulldogs to use its final timeout. A Northcutt kill and ace and a pair of kills by Le'au made it a 23-21 set that forced Florida to call a timeout. A Bahr and Eatmon block brought the set within one at 23-22, but Florida scored the final two points to win the set 25-22 and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The teams tied three times before a 4-0 run put the Gators up 9-7. Bahr and Perri combined for a block that sparked a pair of points that put the Bulldogs within one at 11-10. Florida answered with a 3-0 run that put the Gators up 14-10. Georgia and Florida traded points over the next several possessions, keeping the Bulldogs within striking distance. The Bulldogs took advantage of a Florida error before Le'au registered a kill that made it a 22-19 set and forced a Florida timeout. The Gators ended the set on a 3-0 run to seal the 25-19 set three win and take the match 3-0.
Southeastern Conference awards, including the SEC All-Conference Team, All-Freshman and SEC Community Service Team, will be announced at the beginning of next week.