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The University of Georgia women’s volleyball team fell in straight sets to open its series at Mississippi State Wednesday afternoon (26-28, 17-25, 21-25).
Senior Rachel Rithie paced the Bulldogs’ offense with 10 kills in the match. She added a pair of digs and blocks defensively.
Redshirt-junior libero Claire Rothenberger tallied a team-best 15 digs, a season-best for a Bulldog in three sets this season. Sophomore Kacie Evans put up 11 digs of her own with six kills. Sophomore Meghan Froemming tallied a carrer-best nine kills with a .350 hitting clip.
Both teams began the match going point-for-point. Tied at 10, Mississippi State (5-14) won three-straight rallies to take a 13-10 lead and prompt a Georgia timeout. After the break, the Bulldogs responded with four-straight points of their own including a block and a kill from Froemming to take a 14-13 lead. Tied at 19, an ace from Downing gave Georgia the advantage and Mississippi State called its final timeout. The close opening stanza continued into extra points. Georgia drew set point three times but Mississippi State kept the set alive. Tied at 26, back-to-back kills by MSU’s Callie Minshew secured the opening set for the home team, 28-26. Ritchie tallied six kills in the opening set. The first set featured 18 ties and nine lead changes.
Errors plagued Georgia (7-14) early in set two, leading to Mississippi State jumping out to a 7-1 lead. A 6-1 scoring run for Georgia cut the lead to 15-10 but that would be the closest the Bulldogs would get as MSU ran away with the second set 25-17 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Once again, MSU jumped out to an early lead in set three. Down 18-15, Georgia worked to tie the set at 20 all but Mississippi State halted the advancing Bulldogs to wrap the set, winning five of the next six rallies, and winning the match in three sets, 25-21. Six of Froemming’s nine kills came in the final set.
Georgia and Mississippi State will bring a close to the 2020-21 season Thursday afternoon. First serve is set for 2 p.m., ET.