Volleyball: Bulldogs open Blue Devil Classic with a sweep of Northwestern

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Volleyball: Bulldogs open Blue Devil Classic with a sweep of Northwestern

Georgia outside hitter Kacie Evans (23) prepares to hit the ball during the Red & Black Scrimmage in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Georgia outside hitter Kacie Evans (23) prepares to hit the ball during the Red & Black Scrimmage in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019.
(Photo by Tony Walsh)

The University of Georgia women’s volleyball team swept Northwestern to open play Friday in the Blue Devil Classic in Durham, NC at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Bulldogs defeated the Wildcats 25-21, 25-17, and 25-18.

Freshman Kacie Evans recorded a season-high 15 kills (.560 hitting percentage) to lead the Georgia offense followed by 12 from Rachel Ritchie (.458) and 10 from Kayla Rivera (.353).

As a team, Georgia (4-3) hit a season-best .393. At the service line, the Bulldogs recorded seven aces led by a career-best three from Brynn Chandler. Defensively, Claire Rothenberger led the charge with a season-high nine followed by eight from Kendall Glover and seven from Evans. Sage Naves also contributed on three blocks.

Georgia kept the Wildcats at arm’s length the entirety of the opening stanza, never trailing. Georgia took the opener 25-21. Rivera led the Georgia offense with five kills while Ritchie and Evans each added four. As a team, the Bulldogs opened the match hitting .412.

The second set was much closer than the first as the frame featured 10 ties and five lead changes. Chandler’s career-best third ace put the Bulldogs ahead 16-14 and prompted a timeout from Georgia. After the timeout, a service error put Northwestern (5-2) within one. The Bulldogs rattled off seven-straight points to open a late 23-15 lead, ultimately resulting in a 25-17 set win and a 2-0 lead in the match. Evans added five kills in the set while Georgia totaled five aces. As a team, the Bulldogs hit an impressive .391 in the second to follow up their hot hitting in the first.

A 6-1 run early prompted a Wildcat timeout with the Bulldogs ahead 8-5. Back-to-back points on a block and Evans kill out of the timeout widened the lead to 10-5. A 5-0 run later gave Georgia a 17-10 advantage with their eyes on the finish line. Northwestern was able to pull within three of the lead but Georgia held strong en route to the 25-18 win and the sweep of the Wildcats. Ritchie and Evans both tallied six kills in the final set, Ritchie doing it on just seven attempts. 

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