The Georgia volleyball program opens its final road stretch of the regular season beginning with No. 6 Kentucky Friday evening. The Bulldogs then travel to Tennessee for a Sunday matchup.
First serve in Lexington is slated for 7 p.m. Friday evening with Sunday’s match set for 1:30 in Knoxville. Both matches will be streamed to the SEC Network+.
Series History Kentucky
The Wildcats lead the all-time series with Georgia, 42-25. The Bulldogs will look to snap a five-match losing streak to Kentucky, dating back to the 2014 season. Georgia’s last victory over Kentucky came Oct. 23, 2013 in five sets in Athens. UK was ranked No. 15 at the time. That match is UGA’s last victory over a ranked opponent. The 2013 win over the Wildcats is the lone win against Kentucky since 2005 or the last 23 meetings.
Georgia is 27-42 all-time against Tennessee. The Bulldogs hosted the Lady Vols on Oct. 11 in the debut of newly renovated Stegeman Coliseum. Despite season-high performances from Meghan Donovan and the freshmen tandem of T’ara Ceasar and Rachel Ritchie, Georgia fell in a five-set decision to the Lady Vols (25-15, 22-25, 25-17, 25-27, 5-15).
Ceasar Continues to Earn Weekly Honors
T’ara Ceasar was named SEC Freshman of the Week for the sixth time on Monday, Nov. 13. She is the only UGA volleyball player to earn any weekly SEC award six times in a single season. On Sept. 25, Ceasar also marked the first Bulldog to be named Freshman of the Week three times in a single season since the weekly honors for freshmen began in 2005. Two other Georgia players have earned the honor twice: Jasmine Eatmon in 2012 and Maria Taylor in 2005.
Ceasar guided the Bulldogs to a sweep of Ole Miss Friday evening at the Ramsey Center. The Panama City, Florida native topped her own rally scoring record, set twice previously this season, for kills in a three-set match, tallying 19 against the Rebels. She hit .375 en route to her team-leading 22nd double-digit kill match this season and 12th in three-set matches.
Bulldogs Earning SEC Weekly Awards
Georgia has earned 11 weekly awards this season, topping the previous program record of four set in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008. Four different Bulldogs have been honored by the conference this season with three earning Freshman accolades. Meghan Donovan has three Setter of the Week awards while T’ara Ceasar leads the pack with a whopping six Freshman of the Week awards. Fellow freshmen Kendall Glover and Rachel Ritchie have also been recognized this season.
Trending in the Right Direction
The Bulldogs enter this weekend having won six of their last seven matches, five of which coming in straight sets. UGA’s three-game conference win streaks are the longest since 2013. The Bulldogs sit at eight SEC wins in 2017, the most since 2013 when the Dawgs won 11 conference games. Georgia’s 18 wins has already topped or matched the overall win total from 13 of the last 14 seasons.
Black in His First Season
In his first season at Georgia, head coach Tom Black has already placed 18 W’s in the win column. Of the six head coaches before him, he has already topped five of them in their first season. Jim Iams guided the Bulldogs to a 30-4 season in his first year at the helm (1989).
Of 10 first-year “Power Five” head volleyball coaches this season, Black has posted the third-best conference winning percentage (.571) behind Stanford’s Kevin Hambly (.938) and Louisville’s Dani Bushboom Kelly (.875).
Freshmen T’ara Ceasar and Rachel Ritchie have been powerhouses for the Georgia offense in their rookie campaigns. The two rank in the top five in the SEC in kills and points. Nationally, Ceasar ranks 28th in kills per set while Ritchie ranks 65th. Ceasar is the highest ranking freshman in the category. Ceasar has also made her presence known on the service line, ranking third in the league in aces, 28th nationally. Her ranking of 20 is the best for a freshman with 4.67 points per set. Ceasar leads the team with 22 double-digit kill matches this season with Ritchie close behind with 20.
Georgia leads the Southeastern Conference in aces per set, registering a 1.64 clip (156 total) in the category. The Bulldogs’ average is good enough for 18th nationally. Individually, T’ara Ceasar’s 0.43 average (40 total) ranks third in the conference and 28th in the country. The squad’s 11 aces on Arkansas (Oct. 25) were the team-best in SEC play this season, topping the previous season-high of eight at Missouri Oct. 20.
Georgia Ranked in Top Five of SEC in Every Offensive Category
The Georgia offense has placed itself in the top five of every offensive category, including hitting percentage, assists, kills and service aces. The conference rankings feature Georgia at the top in service aces with a 1.64 average, highlighted by T’ara Ceasar and Kendall Glover, who have led the team in service aces in 18 matches this season. Ceasar ranks third in the SEC in service aces individually.
The Bulldogs are third at .249 in hitting percentage. In kills, Georgia boasts a third-place position (13.74), fueled by outside hitters Ceasar and Rachel Ritchie at third and fourth in the individual rankings. Meghan Donovan headlines the Georgia assists, providing her own third-place spot with 10.99 per match, bringing Georgia to its fourth position as a team 12.94 assists per set. The setter’s mark also ranks 29th in the nation.
Freshman Duo Rewrites Rally Scoring Records
T’ara Ceasar has not only set the mark for kills in a three-set match by a Georgia play this season, but also all-time. She first put up 18 kills in the sweep of Mississippi State on Oct. 15. She matched her mark in the rematch with State on Nov. 3, once again tallying 18 in the sweep at Stegeman. She topped her own record with 19 in the sweep of Ole Miss on Nov. 10. The previous all-time mark was 17 set by Maria Taylor in 2008. Rachel Ritchie recorded 27 kills at Davidson on Sept. 8 in just four sets. That mark is also top of the kills in a four-set match in Georgia rally scoring history. The previous mark was 21 by Valentina Gonzales in 2010.