Bulldogs fall to American in first round of NCAA tournament

DURHAM, N.C. — The Georgia volleyball team dropped a 3-0 (21-25, 13-25, 11-25) decision Friday to American in the first round of the NCAA rournament at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.

UGA Sports Communications
Georgia players talk on the court during their loss to American in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday.

“It’s always disappointing to have your season end,” coach Lizzy Stemke said in a release. “American came out and had a great game plan and executed it well. We did not play our best volleyball tonight, and unfortunately, at this point in the season you can’t have an off night. These players should walk with their heads held high, because we have had a lot of success this season and our senior class led the charge in that.

“We were able to achieve a lot. This group has moved this program to places it hasn’t been in quite some time. And so where it hurts and maybe they don’t want to hear it right now, one match doesn’t define a season and a team. We need to keep that big picture in mind.”

Stacey Smith led the Bulldogs with seven kills, followed by Tirah Le’au and Lauren Teknipp with six each. Kaylee Kehoe earned a team-best 19 assists. Teknipp and Elena Perri each had one block each, while Allison Summers recorded a match-high 23 digs.

American jumped out to an early 7-4 lead, but a service error and a Teknipp kill put the Bulldogs within one at 7-6. The Eagles answered with four-straight points to take a 12-7 lead. A Smith kill down the line helped the Bulldogs cut the lead to three at 16-13, but a kill by the Eagles forced Georgia to use a timeout trailing 17-13. Trailing 21-15, the Bulldogs scored four of the next five points to cut the lead to 22-19. The Eagles went on to score three of the final five points to take a 25-21 win in the first set.

The Eagles opened the second set on a 9-1 run to take control of the set. The Bulldogs were unable to find an offensive rhythm in the set, falling 25-13.

A forced error gave Georgia the opening point in the third set, but a 6-0 run allowed the Eagles to claim a 6-1 advantage. Trailing 8-3, a Teknipp kill and setting error by the Eagles made it a three-point set at 8-5. Three straight Eagle points made it a 12-5 set and forced the Bulldogs to use a timeout. Georgia got the first point out of the break, but American responded with a 5-0 run that caused the Bulldogs to take its second timeout of the set trailing 17-6. The Eagles maintained their momentum, sealing the 3-0 victory with a 25-11 set three win.

Georgia finished the season at 22-10, the most wins for a Georgia volleyball squad since the 1994 season.

American will advance to face the winner of the Duke and College of Charleston match at 6 p.m. today.

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