ATHENS, Ga. The University of Alabama volleyball team fell in a three-game heartbreaker to Georgia at the Ramsay Student Center tonight, 27-30, 29-31, 22-30. With the loss Alabama falls to 11-4 in the SEC and 14-10 overall.
“I thought we looked very stale tonight,” said Alabama head coach Judy Green. “I think, heading into the match, and not having played since last Friday we looked like we hadn’t competed against another team since last week. Our team didn’t handle the full week and I think that is coaching. Georgia did exactly what they wanted to do tonight against us.”
The Crimson Tide’s Brooks Webster led the Tide offense with 11 kills and hit .259 on the night. Senior Megan Hudson led the defense for the first time this season with 16 digs, while Amy Pauly and Bridget Fuentez contributed 13.
The Crimson Tide could not find its rhythm against Georgia tonight as the Bulldogs held the Tide to a .124 hitting percentage and 57 digs.
“I knew we were going to get Georgia’s best effort,” Green stated. “We opened the match by not executing and doing defensively what we wanted to do.”
The Tide could not contain Georgia’s offense in game one as the Bulldogs hit over .300 and earned four team blocks. Alabama found itself down by three at the start of the game but Brigitte Slack earned the first Tide kill of the match to end the run. Following the kill, freshman Mary Catherine Aune ripped off three serves to tie the game at seven. Alabama saw its first lead of the game off an ace from Aune and two consecutive Bulldog hitting errors at 15-14. The Tide held the lead and forced Georgia to take its first timeout trailing 21-24. However, the Bulldogs responded with a three-point run to tie the match. Two Tide errors put Georgia ahead by two and the Bulldogs held the lead for the rest of game one.
Alabama made a late run in game two but could not stop Georgia’s momentum as the Bulldogs went on the clinch game two 31-29 and earn a 2-0 lead heading into game three. The Tide went down by eight at the start of the game. However, Alabama regrouped and made up the deficit to take its first lead at 27-26 off an Aune ace. Aune followed the ace with an error to tie the game for the second time at 27 all. Slack responded with a kill at the net to give the Tide its second lead. Two consecutive Bulldog points gave Georgia its first game point at 29-28. The Tide’s Crystal Hudson kept Alabama in the race with a kill and tied the game for the third time at 29. Georgia’s Erika Clark ended game two with two consecutive kills.
Game three started off in the same fashion as game two with Georgia coming out with a big lead. However, Alabama fought back to within two points of the Bulldogs at 12-14 on a Fuentez kill. Georgia responded to Alabama’s run with a kill and an ace to build a five point lead. Fuentez ended the run with a huge solo block and brought the Tide to within one at 14-15. Alabama went on a three-point run late in the game but the Bulldogs proved to be too much for the Tide and Georgia ended the match with its 10th block of the match.
“It’s over and done with and this match is a good reminder that we have to continue to fight and stay focused,” said Green. “I will fully expect us to bounce back and be ready to go on Sunday.”
Alabama returns to action Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in the CAVE to play host to in-state rival Auburn. For match information and live statistics, visit www.rolltide.com.