ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia graduate outside hitter Kacie Evans tallied the 2,000th point of her career in the Bulldogs' four-set win over South Carolina Friday evening in front of a crowd of 1,214 at Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia snaps its three-match losing skid, climbing to 16-11 on the season and 7-8 in SEC play. The Bulldogs have three matches remaining in the regular season.
Evans becomes just the fifth Bulldog to top the 2,000-point mark at Georgia. She joins all-time greats Priscilla Pacheco (3,018.0), Julia Petruschke (2,264.5), Nikki Nicholson (2,157.0), and Maria Taylor (2,020.0) in the 2,000 Point Club.
Sophie Fischer (22) and Erica Staunton (17) each tied season bests in kills Friday evening. Evans picked up seven in the match. Fischer hit .432 and added three aces and three blocks.
The Bulldogs tallied a season-high 12 aces at the service line. Clara Brower, Evans, and Fischer each recorded three.
Defensively, Bailey Cox tied a season-high 15 digs while Brower put up nine with her 47 assists.
Georgia came our strong in the first set, finding a 7-3 lead. The Gamecocks (10-15, 4-12) responded with five straight to flip the lead in their favor, 8-7. Ahead 18-17, Georgia went on a 4-0 run to open a 22-17 lead. South Carolina cut the lead to one late, but Georgia held on to win the set 25-23.
A nine-point serving run by Ana Julia Bleeker put Georgia way out in front in the second, 9-1. The Gamecocks would get as close as five, 22-17, but it was all Georgia in the second, rolling to a 25-19 win and a 2-0 lead in the match. Evans' 2,000th point came on a kill in the second to put Georgia ahead 16-6.
The Gamecocks didn't go down without a fight, leading the entirety of the third set. The Gamecocks hit .433 in the third, winning the frame 25-18 and staying alive in the match.
Georgia responded well in the fourth, leading the Gamecocks as much as six, even before the media timeout. An Evans ace put the Dogs up seven, 22-15, prompting a Gamecock timeout. After the break, South Carolina began slowing the Bulldogs' offense, winning seven of the next nine points. Fischer's 22nd kill sealed the match for Georgia, 25-22.
The Bulldogs host Alabama on Sunday, Nov. 19 at Stegeman Coliseum. First serve between the Bulldogs and the Crimson Tide is slated for 2 p.m. Admission is free.
Head Coach Tom Black
On the team's win and the atmosphere in Stegeman...
"We always appreciate the fans coming out. It's huge, especially in this home stretch. A little bit up-and-down volleyball, but we definitely had some good stretches there."
On how Kacie Evans reaching 2,000 points inspires the team for the rest of the season...
"Kacie's Georgia Volleyball through and through. She's put in a lot to the program and given a lot to the program, and we want to help support her to be great, so we're happy for her."
#12 Clara Brower | S | Jr.
On the atmosphere in Stegeman and her thoughts on the game...
"Playing in Steg is just such an honor. We love when we have fans come out and support us, and I think it really fires us up. I thought today we had great energy from our bench, on the court, even just fueling off the people and the fans who come to support us, so it was awesome."
On the mentality that led to the team bouncing back in the fourth set...
"I think after the third set, we knew that that wasn't us. That wasn't Georgia volleyball, so I think we came together as a team and decided, putting the foot down, there were so many plays that we wish we could take back. Just mentally being present and attacking it as individual points instead of one set or the entire match."
#23 Kacie Evans | OH | Gr.
On the team's performance and the atmosphere in Stegeman...
"Everyone came out to support us, and I really appreciate it especially because we have minimal games left in here. I think we have two after this now, so we're going to try to get everyone in as much as they can. I love when they do show up, and I'm glad they did come out tonight to support the Dawgs. Obviously, as a team there were some momentum shifts that we were going through, but the first two sets we absolutely balled. I thought we did very well offensively, defensively, you name it. We were just on pace with everything. Third set, I think we got a little too rattled. I think we were thinking about things a little bit too much, but I think the fourth set really responded for how much we can keep competing through our match."
On what reaching 2,000 points means to her...
"Obviously, it's a big personal thing for me, but at the same time I really couldn't have done this without the entire program. Coaches, strength coaches - I could go on and on. Players, obviously, too; just being with the six people on the court and the rest on the bench. Obviously, they're super supportive, and I got their backs as well. It does mean a lot to me in that way, but I'm very happy that I was able to do it here in Steg as well just because I love being home. I love celebrating it. Just a big response from me just because I didn't feel like I had the best match tonight, but that's okay."