Nov. 27, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. - The Georgia volleyball reached 21 wins for the first time since 1995 with its 3-1 (20-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-17) win over the Auburn Tigers in the final Southeastern Conference match of the season on Wednesday, Nov. 27 at the Ramsey Center in Athens, Ga. The Bulldogs are now 21-9 overall and finished SEC play with a record of 11-7. Auburn fell to 19-11 overall and 10-8 in the SEC.
"I'd go to war with this group any day," Head Coach Lizzy Stemke. "They are incredibly resilient and have shown that kind of rebound time and time again. This [Auburn] is a team we haven't seen all year and it was a very fresh team. We spend some of the first set figuring out their game plan, how we were going to react to it and figuring out what adjustments needed to be made. Our offense was incredibly balanced tonight. I thought we handled our first ball well and we waited for those moments to defensively get points. And then we were able to put some of those strings together. I'm really, really proud of the way they responded. It was a great SEC match tonight."
The Bulldogs had five players in double figures tonight, with each hitting over .300 for the match. The offense was led by Tirah Le'au with 13 kills, while hitting at a .312 clip. Brittany Northcutt hit at a .423 efficiency while racking up 12 kills. Northcutt also tallied 10 digs for her 11th double-double of the year. Stacey Smith and Jasmine Eatmon recorded 11 kills each, hitting .391 and .450, respectively, while Lauren Teknipp added 10 kills and hit .364. As a team, the Bulldogs hit at a .352 efficiency. Northcutt and Le'au also tallied two service aces each. The offense was paced by Kaylee Kehoe, who finished with 30 digs, while Maggie Baumert added 23. Allison Summers led the team with 16 digs. Elena Perri led the Bulldogs with eight blocks, including two solo stops.
Auburn took an early 9-3 lead in the first set and never relinquished the lead as the Tigers took the first set 25-20. The Bulldogs answered by taking the second set 25-16 to tie the match at one set each. The set remained close in the opening possessions, as neither team was able to take control. With Auburn holding a 7-5 lead, a Teknipp kill sparked a 4-0 run that gave the Bulldogs a 9-7 lead. Georgia extended its lead to 13-9 after a Smith kill, an Auburn error and a block by Perri, forcing the Tigers to use a timeout. A pair of Teknipp kills helped Georgia to an 18-11 lead that caused Auburn to use its final timeout of the set. With Northcutt at the service line, Georgia scored three-straight to give it set point at 24-15. Smith sealed the 25-16 win two possessions later with a kill.
The Tigers took an early 11-9 lead in the third set, but Georgia was able to come back to tie the set at 11. The score tied four times until Auburn got back-to-back points that gave it an 18-16 lead and forced Georgia to call a timeout. Auburn maintained a slight edge until a kill by Le'au tied the set at 22. Georgia scored the final three points, including the final two on Le'au aces, to take a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-22 set three win.
The teams battled at the start of the fourth set before a Northcutt kill gave the Bulldogs a 9-7 lead. Auburn tied the set at 10 and 11 before an error and a Northcutt kill resulted in a 13-11 lead for Georgia. The Bulldogs score consecutive points to extend its lead to 15-12 that forced Auburn to use its first timeout. Four plays and three-straight Georgia points later, Auburn used its final timeout trailing 18-13. Leading 19-15, a Northcutt kill sparked a 4-0 Georgia run that included consecutive aces by Northcutt to take a 23-15 lead. The Bulldogs allowed just two more points before a Smith kill sealed the 25-17 set four win and the match 3-1.
Georgia returns to action on Friday, Nov. 29 at 5 p.m., when it hosts Kennesaw State in the final regular-season match of the year.