ATHENS, Ga. - The University of Georgia volleyball team picked up a straight sets victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide Sunday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum in front of a season-high crowd of 1,783 (25-23, 25-18, 25-19).
Georgia improves to 17-11 on the season and 8-8 in SEC play.
Like Friday's match against South Carolina, Sophie Fischer (13 kills) and Erica Staunton (11) led the Bulldogs offensively. Fischer hit .417 in the match. Kacie Evans tallied nine kills.
Bailey Cox's 19 digs were a season high for the junior libero. On the net, Fischer's two blocks were a team best. Setter Clara Brower handed out 32 assists and ran a .278-hitting offense against Alabama (10-17, 0-16). At the service line, Ana Julia Bleeker laid down four of Georgia's six aces.
Georgia came out strong in the first behind a great Bleeker serving run, going up 5-0 to begin the match. Alabama quickly cut the lead to 8-7, but Georgia responded winning seven of the next nine to go back up 15-9, capped by the second Bleeker ace of the set. With Georgia approaching set point, 22-16, Alabama rattled off five straight to slice the lead to one, 22-21. Georgia held on to win the set 25-23. Staunton put up four first set kills.
The Bulldogs found themselves playing catchup to begin the second set. Down 10-6, Georgia picked up three points to cut it to one before Alabama took three right back, 13-9. The Bulldogs finally tied the set at 14 on a couple Tide errors. An Evans kill gave Georgia its first lead at 16-15. Knotted at 16, Georgia's offense went into overdrive, winning nine of the last 11 points of the set to complete the comeback, 25-18.
The late momentum from set two carried into set three as Georgia went up 10-4 to begin the set. After Alabama pulled within three, Georgia used a 3-0 run to go back in front six and exhaust the Tides' timeouts, 18-12. Georgia kept the Tide at bay en route to winning the third set 25-19, completing the sweep.
The Bulldogs are back in the road for the final road match of the regular season on Wednesday at LSU. First serve in Baton Rouge is set for 8 p.m., ET, on SEC Network.
Head Coach Tom Black
On the team's performance in Sunday's match...
"I thought the team did well. I thought we responded well from the other match and made some of the improvements we talked about, so there are a lot of positives from today."
On what he wants the team to take from this match into LSU...
"It's really about getting better each day and improving from each lesson in the last match. Again, I thought the team did a really good job with that. We appreciate the crowd. We got a lot of energy from them today, so that was great."
How it feels coming off two SEC victories and entering the final stretch of the season...
"It's tunnel vison right now. You've got to maximize the day. Look at a match and take care of it, and I think the team is pretty focused. It's just about conquering the day before you."
#12 Clara Brower | S | Jr.
On the team's win and rally in the second set...
"I think that our team today, we showed a lot of grit. I think defensively, that was a huge focus going into this game was we really wanted to challenge ourselves to see how many more balls we can dig and how our defense can really put up behind our block. I think that was something we're really proud of because we talked about it and we made that active change, and the more you're digging, the longer the rallies are going to be, so I think we're really proud of how our defensive played today."
On how she feels coming off two SEC wins and heading into the season's final stretch...
"I think it's great. We had a hard road weekend the previous week, so I think that being able to come into Steg for these two games and getting two victories, it's huge for us and gives us good confidence for going on the road."