January 30, 2023

Austin, Texas – The University of Georgia women’s volleyball team defeated Towson in four sets (25-10, 25-23, 21-25, 25-20) in the opening round of the NCAA tournament Thursday night at Gregory Gymnasium in the opening round.

Georgia will now play the top seeded Texas Longhorns in Austin on Friday at 9pm ET. The match will be broadcast on Longhorn Network and streamed live on ESPN+.

Georgia climbs to 23-7 in 2022 season. This is Georgia’s first NCAA tournament win since 1995.

The Bulldogs’ offense was led by senior Kacie Evans’ 26 kills on a .380 hitting clip. The number of kills was their second-highest of the season. She submitted eight digs, an ace, and two blocks in the match.

Junior Sophie Fischer contributed 12 kills at a .455 percentage with eight blocks. Libero Bailey Cox led the defense with 15 away attacks.

On the service line, Georgia laid down six aces in the match, three of them from setter Alexa Fortin.

Georgia quickly took a 3-0 lead and then used an 11-1 run to take a 14-3 lead in the opening stanza. The run included three blocks and two serve aces. Georgia kept going, took a 18-6 lead and forced Towson (29-2) to take the final time-out. The Dogs never looked back and rolled to a 25-10 opening set win. Fischer had five kills with three blocks while Evans had four kills in the opening set. Towson was held on a -.088 hitting clip on the set.

The Bulldogs continued their momentum in the second set and took a 9-2 lead over the Tigers. Towson turned the tables and used a 7-1 run to reduce the lead to 11-10. Towson found his first lead of the game going into the media break of the second set, 15-14. Towson led 21-17 until Georgia retook the lead with a six-point run, 22-21. With a total of 23 points, Georgia was able to win the next two rallies, taking the set 25-23 and taking a 2-0 lead in the game.

A back-and-forth fight in the third set opened the stanza. Towson won three of four points to take a 13-11 lead and Georgia called a timeout in the third. Towson stayed ahead and led 22-16. A 3-1 run against Georgia closed the gap at 23-19. After Towson pulled the set point at 24-19, an Evans kill and a block extended the set until Towson secured the frame at 25-21 and kept the match alive.

Georgia took six straight points early in the fourth set to take a 7-2 lead. Georgia maintained the lead, going up six on Evans’ 25th kill, 17-11. A back-to-back three by the Tigers reduced the lead to 19-16, resulting in a timeout for Georgia. After a UGA timeout, a serve error gave the tip for the 20-point mark for the Dogs. With a narrow 20-18 lead, Georgia held on to finish the set 25-20 and win the match in four sets.

Georgia head coach Tom Black

Opening speech …

“Congratulations to Towson on a great season. 29-1 is hard to do no matter what. They were everything we expected from them. Their racquets were a handful and they had some difficult service runs. We expected a tough NCAA match. We knew we were pretty much on fire in the first set, then they pushed back, which good teams will do, and I was proud of how the team found a way to respond to that. We had some hard serve runs and were able to start the transition a bit. It was also a new situation for our team. We made it through the tournament three years ago, but it was the first time we’ve made it through to the second round in a long time. I was expecting a bit of nervousness but I thought the team pushed through like they have all year. I’m really proud to coach this team.”

What the game plan boiled down to in the match…

“I only play Georgia volleyball. When we’re at our best, we serve hard. I think our blocking went in spurts, but I think we’re a tough blocking team. It came down to executing the game plan, which I think the team did well. Like I said, we knew it was going to be a tough game and it definitely was.”

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