Georgia Volleyball Edged By Auburn In Season Finale, 3-2

By: UGA Sports Communications
By: UGA Sports Communications

Athens, GA - The University of Georgia volleyball team concluded its 2010 season on Wednesday night falling to Auburn, 3-2, at the Ramsey Student Center.

Georgia's 2010 campaign concluded at 15-17 overall and 6-14 in Southeastern Conference contests as Auburn earned the victory with set scores of 19-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-27 and 15-4. With the win, Auburn wraps up its 2010 regular season at 20-12 overall and 11-9 in league action. It marks the first 20-win season since 1998 for the Tigers, who will await a possible berth into NCAA postseason play for the first time in school history when the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Selection Show airs on Sunday between 3 and 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN News.

"We knew that Auburn was a good team coming into the match," Interim head coach Chad Hanson said. "They have a lot to prove and this match was a pivoting point to them getting into the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully for our conference's sake that is the case. For Georgia, considering how we played on their court and considering how we played here on our court, in the big picture of things we really showed a great competitive spirit tonight."

Auburn finished the match with 74 kills on a .337 hitting percentage led by Sarah Bullock's match-best 19 kills. Defensively, the Tigers led the match in digs at 76-59 paced by libero Liz Crouch's match-best 22 digs while Bullock notched a double-double by adding 13 digs. Georgia finished the contest with 69 digs on a .271 clip.

The end of the 2010 season also brings an end to the collegiate playing careers of senior Bulldogs Valentina Gonzalez and Simone May. Both seniors posted strong performances in Wednesday's match. Gonzalez tied for the team lead with 15 kills while adding a match-best seven blocks, and May contributed a season-high 11 kills.

"It felt good to be effective tonight for our seniors," Hanson noted. "Valentina led us up to the very end, and we couldn't more proud of both Simone and Valentina. They are two young women who have the world in front of them talent wise. They are great character individuals who I would trust with my kids. I'm really excited to see where they go professionally in their careers."

The senior duo was among five Bulldogs to finish with double-digits in kills as junior middle hitter Ann Dylla matched Gonzalez with 15 kills while freshmen outside hitter Kathleen Luft and Brittany Northcutt contributed 12 and 10 kills, respectively.

Four Bulldogs also finished with double-digit digs totals as Luft and junior Kathleen Gates each recorded double-doubles. For Luft, it marked her fifth double-double of the year as she had a team-best 14 digs. Gates concluded her 2010 season with a team-best 10 double-doubles as she contributed 12 digs in addition to 56 assists. Junior libero Carla Tietz added 13 digs while freshman Allison Summers finished the match with 10. Tietz's 13 digs carried her above 400 digs for the second-straight season as she closed the year with 412.

Gonzalez concludes her four-year Georgia career entrenched in the Georgia record books most notably as the school record holder for career blocks assists with 424. Additionally, she finishes the 2010 season with a .395 hitting percentage, second-best for a single year, and her career hitting percentage of .335 ranks second in school history as well. Gonzalez's career block total of 453 ranks fourth all-time at UGA.

"Valentina, at just less than six-feet, is really not a prototypical middle hitter for the SEC, yet she led the conference in many categories and broke UGA records," Hanson said.

May, who joined the Bulldogs in 2006, finishes her career with 283 kills and 88 blocks having played in 70 matches and 196 sets.

"Simone had a late developing career for us on the court," Hanson stated. "She really became a successful part for us on our right side as a huge blocker, a great athlete and again a wonderful individual."

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