Sept. 27, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. – In its first five-set match of the season, Georgia picked up a (24-26, 25-21, 16-25, 26-25, 15-9) win over the LSU Tigers on Friday, Sept. 27 at the Maravich Center in Baton Rouge, La. The win marked the second-straight year that Georgia has defeated the Tigers in Baton Rouge. With the win, Georgia moves to 11-2 on the year, its best start since 1993, and 1-0 in Southeastern Conference action. LSU falls to 10-2 overall and 0-1 in the SEC.
“This was one of those epic SEC battles and was a great way to start conference play,” Head Coach Lizzy Stemke said. “The team battled through some adversity to win in true team effort. We called on a lot of different players to step up at different times and make plays and they reacted tremendously to that. After starting out a little slow in the beginning, we were able to battle back and show great strength on the road.”
Stacey Smith led all Georgia attackers with a career-best 19 kills, marking the 5th time this season that the senior has notched a double-digit kill performance. Tirah Le’au finished with 16 kills, while Lauren Teknipp notched 14 kills. Kaylee Kehoe paced the offense with 29 assists. Maggie Baumert added 27 assists.
Georgia was stout defensively, picking up three solo blocks and 25 assisted blocks. Elena Perri and Smith led the Bulldogs defensively at the net, finishing with five blocks each, followed by Jasmine Eatmon and Desiree McCray with four blocks. Allison Summers led Georgia with a career-best 38 digs.
The score knotted 11 times as the Bulldogs and Tigers battled in the first set. LSU took an early lead before Georgia was able to score three-straight points to take its first two-point lead of the set at 14-12. The Bulldogs maintained their advantage until back-to-back LSU kills tied the set at 22. With Georgia holding a 24-23 lead, LSU scored the final three-point to win the first 26-24 and take a 1-0 lead in the match.
The second set mirrored the first set, as the teams tied five times before the Tigers edged out to a 10-5 lead. Georgia fought its way back, using a block by Eatmon and Smith to cut the lead to three at 14-11. Georgia scored three-straight points on kills by Teknipp and Le’au that forced LSU to use a timeout at the 15-14 mark. An LSU attack error and an Eatmon killed allowed the Bulldogs to take a 16-15 lead. Holding an 18-17 lead, the Bulldogs strung together three points to extend its lead to 21-17, which made LSU burn its second timeout. The Tigers made it a two-point set at 23-21, but the Bulldogs settled in and scored the final two points on kills by Smith and Le’au to take the second set 25-21 and tie the match at 1-1.
The Tigers came out strong in the third set, jumping out to a 9-5 lead that forced Georgia to use a timeout. A kill by Teknipp ended the run, but LSU was able to maintain its lead, eventually pulling away by a score of 17-10, causing the Bulldogs to call their final timeout of the set. LSU scored eight of the final 14 points to take a 2-1 lead with a 25-16 set three win.
Georgia opened up to a 4-1 lead in the fourth set before three-straight LSU points tied the set at four. With the score knotted a 6-6, the Bulldogs scored four-straight points, including three on Teknipp kills, to take a 10-6 lead. After an LSU timeout with Georgia leading 14-10, the Tigers scored three-straight points to make it a one-point set at 14-13, forcing a Bulldog timeout. Out of the break, neither team was able to take hold of the set, as the score tied nine more times. After back-to-back points, LSU took a 23-22 lead that caused Georgia to use its final timeout of the set. Le’au and Buckendahl picked up back-to-back kills that gave Georgia set point at 24-23 and forced LSU to use a timeout. The teams tied twice before a kill by Teknipp gave Georgia set point for the second time at 26-25. McCray subbed in following the Teknipp kill and combined with Chloe Buckendahl and Teknipp for a block sealed the 27-25 set four win that forced a fifth set.
The Bulldogs dominated the opening possessions of the fifth and final set, jumping out to an 8-3 lead. During the run, Le’au registered a kill and back-to-back aces to help Georgia to its lead. LSU clawed back to within two at 9-7, forcing Georgia to use a timeout. Following the break, Georgia put up two-straight blocks that gave it an 11-7 lead. Two more blocks and an attack error by the Tigers gave Georgia match point at 14-8. Two possessions later, Le’au put down a kill that sealed the 15-9 set five win and the 3-2 match win.
Georgia gets back in action on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 2 p.m., when it faces the Texas A&M Aggies in College Station, Texas.