Athens, GA – Behind a solid defensive performance that saw the Bulldogs rack up 11 team blocks, the University of Georgia volleyball team improved to 2-0 on the season with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-12, 25-18) win over the Troy Trojans on Saturday night in the Sun Benson’s Hospitality Bulldog Invitational.
Tirah Le’au led the defensive attack with two solo blocks and four block assists. Elena Perri added two solo blocks and three block assists, while Jasmine Eatmon tallied four block assists. Allison Summers helped pace the defense, earning a match-high 13 digs. As a team, Georgia held the Trojans to a .010 attack percentage for the match.
Making her Bulldog debut, Chloe Buckendahl led the Bulldogs offensively, totaling eight kills in 15 attempts for a .467 attack percentage. Brittany Northcutt added eight kills, while Eatmon and Le’au picked up seven kills each. Georgia was dominant from the service line, picking up seven aces, including two each from Maggie Baumert, Summers and Buckendahl. Kaylee Kehoe and Baumert split the setting duties, totaling 14 and 17 assists, respectively.
“We were incredibly disciplined with our responsibilities,” head coach Lizzy Stemke said following the match. “We had a very tight game plan and our players executed it with a fervor. They were aggressive and were able to settle into their serving a little bit. We had seven aces so we’re putting the pressure on the serves at the service line and the executing a very disciplined defense that can make teams very uncomfortable.”
The teams battled through the opening points of set one, tying the match at five before the Bulldogs scored nine of the next 11 points to take a 14-7 lead. From there, the team did not look back, sealing the 25-17 set one win with a block by Perri and Le’au.
In set two, Georgia and Troy tied six times before either team reached double digits. Using the service of Eatmon, the Bulldogs scored nine unanswered points that put them on top 15-6. Leading 19-8, Northcutt recorded an ace that forced a Troy timeout. A Buckendahl kill clinched set two 25-12.
Set three proved to be close, as neither team was able to gain more than a three-point lead until a Buckendahl kill put Georgia ahead12-8. The Bulldogs maintained a slight edge before Troy tied the set at 13 with a service ace by Mailande Parker. The Bulldogs answered with a four-point run that included a Summers ace and a kill by Briana Bahr. Troy got within three at 20-17, but Georgia came away with the 25-18 win on an Eatmon kill.
"I thought our team played really well and did what we had to do today," Eatmon said. We've been practicing a lot on our transition play and communication and I think that paid off tonight. I have been working a lot on my foot transition and connections with the setters and I think that showed today."
Georgia will take on Georgia State at 1 p.m., on Sunday before closing out the Bulldog Invitational with a match against the Slovenian National Team at 4 p.m. Following the match against Slovenia, both teams will be available for autographs.