ATHENS, Ga. - Alabama volleyball opened its weekend road trip with a four-set win over Georgia, taking the first two sets by scores of 32-30 and 25-15 before the Bulldogs rallied to win the third, 21-25, and the Tide won the fourth, 30-28.
Alabama (13-3, 2-1 SEC) won the first two sets before Georgia (12-4, 0-3 SEC) avoided the sweep with a win in the third, snapping a streak of 13-straight sets won by the Tide over the Bulldogs. The fourth went past 25 points but Alabama held on to win, 30-28, and notch its sixth-straight win over Georgia. Krystal Rivers led the Tide offense with 38 kills, tying a career high, along with a .485 hitting percentage. Shannon Mikesky and Abolanle Onipede each posted season highs in blocks with six and four, respectively, while Brittany Thomas was two kills shy of a double-double with eight kills and 11 digs.
Georgia scored the first point of the opening set and briefly led 2-1 before Alabama scored back-to-back points to pull ahead 3-2 and the Tide remained in front for the rest of the first half. A kill by Thomas made it a four-point lead at the halfway mark, 13-9, but the Bulldogs closed the gap and eventually tied it at 14-14 until a service error gave the Tide a 15-14 lead at the media timeout. After two more tie scores, Georgia retook the lead, 17-16, and added two more points to its lead before Alabama took a timeout trialing 19-16. The Tide rallied to tie it at 21-21 and eventually retake the lead on a kill by Mikesky, 23-22, before the Bulldogs took its final timeout. Alabama hit set point first, 24-23, but Georgia rallied to pull ahead 25-24 and force the Tide into a late timeout. Georgia would hit set point four more times but Alabama held strong to eventually win the lengthy set, 32-30.
After five tie scores early in set two, Alabama started to pull away as the teams neared the halfway mark. Leading 11-9, the Tide scored four-straight points to lead 15-9 at the media timeout and a block after the break stretched it to five unanswered points before a service error ended the streak with Alabama up 16-10. Georgia took its first timeout of the set trailing 20-11 and its second facing the same nine-point deficit, 23-14. Alabama eventually won the set, 25-15, to take a 2-0 match lead at intermission.
Georgia came out strongly after intermission, leading 7-2 as Alabama took an early timeout and then rallied with four-straight points to draw within one, 7-6, with Georgia taking its own timeout. The Tide took it second timeout trailing 16-12 and would face a five-point deficit at set point, 24-19. Kills by Thomas and Rivers kept the set going and drew Alabama within three points as Georgia took a timeout still at set point, 24-21. The Bulldogs would win it on the next point, 25-21, to avoid the sweep.
An early 6-3 lead by Georgia in set four was quickly erased with six-straight points by the Tide to flip the lead in Alabama's favor, 9-6. The Tide remained in front at Georgia's first timeout, 13-8, and extended the lead to seven points at the Bulldogs' second timeout, 19-12. Three quick points by Georgia cut Alabama's lead to 19-15 as the Tide took a timeout. Alabama reached match point, 24-20, but Georgia kept the match alive with three-straight points to force a late Tide timeout. The Bulldogs kept rolling after the break, reaching set point after back-to-back scores, 25-24, but a challenged call on the next point went in Alabama's favor to tie it at 25-25. After three more tie scores down the stretch, Alabama eventually held on to win, 30-28, and seal the 3-1 match victory.