Starkville, MS - The University of Georgia volleyball team picked up its first Southeastern Conference win with a 3-1 (24-26, 25-13, 25-20, 25-23) win over Mississippi State on Sunday afternoon in Starkville, Miss. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 7-4 on the season and 1-1 in the SEC. Mississippi State drops to 4-7 overall and 0-2 in league action.
“We had a tough match on Friday night, but I am really proud of this team for rebounding today against Mississippi State,” head coach Lizzy Stemke said. “Any win on the road in the SEC is a great one. We fought really hard coming off of a tough loss on Friday and were able to get back on track with some of the key points that we’ve committed to this season. We were really tough from the service line and incredibly deep and disciplined with our defense. It was great to see us bounce back and get back on track and we are looking forward to playing at home this weekend.”
Tirah Le’au and Briana Bahr each finished with a match-high 16 kills, as each hit over .300 at .314 and .448, respectively. Brittany Northcutt earned her second double-double of the season, finishing with 11 kills and 19 digs. Kaylee Kehoe and Maggie Baumert split time at setter, finishing with 30 and 21 assists. The Bulldogs were particularly effective from the service line, finishing with six aces, including three from Jasmine Eatmon and two from Northcutt.
Elena Perri led the team defensively, finishing with six blocks, while Lauren Teknipp and Bahr added four blocks each.
After falling 26-24 in a hard-fought first set, Georgia rebounded by winning the next three sets to take the match. Georgia and Mississippi State kept it close in the opening points of set two, tying five times before an Eatmon kill sparked an eight-point run that put the Bulldogs on top 17-9. During the run, Eatmon recorded two aces and two kills. Following an MSU timeout, the teams traded points until back-to-back Georgia kills put the Bulldogs up 21-11. Georgia scored the final three points of the match, including the set-winner on a block by Teknipp and Eatmon to seal the set 25-13 and even the match at 1-1.
Georgia raced out to a 7-2 lead in the third set before MSU fought back to within three at 9-6. A pair of Georgia kills forced MSU to call a timeout with Georgia leading 14-9. A kill by Perri ignited a 3-0 run that extended Georgia’s lead to 18-10, forcing MSU to use its second timeout of the set. MSU scored three-straight to bring the score to 24-20, but Northcutt finished the set with a kill that gave Georgia a 25-20 win.
Behind the serve of Kehoe, the Bulldogs pulled out to a 5-0 lead in the fourth set, before MSU scored five-straight to tie the set a five. The teams kept the set close before a 5-0 Mississippi State run allowed it to take a 12-8 lead. Georgia answered with a run of its own that brought the score within one at 14-13. With Kehoe at the service line, Georgia was able to regain a 17-15 lead. The teams tied four times before a pair of Le’au kills sealed the set 25-23 and the match 3-1.
Georgia returns home on Friday in a 7 p.m., match against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Ramsey Student Center. Georgia will take on Arkansas on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.