ATLANTA - The University of Georgia volleyball team defeated the Howard Bison Sunday afternoon in four sets, 3-1 (25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 25-16).
The Bulldogs will carry a 9-3 record into next Sunday's SEC opener at No. 3 Florida.
Sophie Fischer recorded a career-high 19 kills with a very efficient .548 hitting clip. She put up six blocks with two aces and two digs in Sunday's match.
Sophomores Estelle Haugen (11) and Tori Harper (9) each tied career highs in kills while both hit north of .269 with three blocks each.
Clara Brower recorded her fifth double-double of the season and third of the weekend with 43 assists and 11 digs. She added three blocks and an ace.
Mallory Downing led the team with 13 digs while freshman Ceci Gooch tied her season best seven blocks.
Georgia won seven-of-nine points early in the opening set to take a 10-5 lead on the Bison (3-8). Howard used a 5-0 run to erase the lead and tie the set at 15. Georgia regrouped to go back up 19-16 and prompt a Howard break. Back-to-back Ana Julia Bleeker aces widened Georgia's lead back to five, 23-18. Kills from Kacie Evans and Fischer concluded the set for Georgia, 25-19. Fischer tallied five first set kills with a .571 hitting clip.
An early 4-0 Georgia run opened a 5-2 lead and forced a quick Bison timeout in the second set. With Georgia ahead three, Howard stormed back to win nine of the next 11 points to take a 20-16 lead and exhaust both Georgia timeouts. Georgia rallied to cut the Bison lead to one, 21-20, but Howard held on to win the set 25-22 and even the match.
The third set began neck-and-neck. Knotted at 13, Georgia strung together six-straight points to go ahead 19-13. Howard matched Georgia's run to tie the set at 19. The Dogs regrouped to finish the set winning six of the next seven rallies to take the frame 25-20. Fischer had seven kills in the set to double her total to that point in the match to 14.
An ace from Bleeker capped three-straight points for Georgia to go up 9-5 in the fourth. The Dogs kept the momentum, doubling up the Bison 14-7 and exhausting both Howard timeouts. The Bulldogs kept their foot on the gas and rolled to a 25-16 set four win and the match.
Georgia opens Southeastern Conference play next Sunday at third-ranked Florida. The Bulldogs and Gators will begin at 7 p.m. on SEC Network live from Gainesville.