Despite Amanda Dachs’ second double-double of the season, the Georgia Bulldogs (13-8, 1-7) were edged by the Texas A&M Aggies (12-7, 6-2) in a five-set thriller Friday night at the Ramsey Center.
In a competitive back-and forth match, the Bulldogs played step-for-step with the Aggies, who entered play as the fourth ranked team in the SEC, but were narrowly defeated by two late Texas A&M runs to end the fourth and fifth set.
Georgia’s Amanda Dachs (2) during the Bulldogs’ match with Texas A&M at the Ramsey Center in Athens, Ga., on Friday, October 21, 2016. (Photo by John Paul Van Wert)
“Our team came out aggressive from point one” said head coach Lizzy Stemke. “We played a very clean and neat match, but at the end of the day the ball didn’t land in our court. I am proud of the way this group compared and competed, and we need to take this with us for the next 10 matches of the conference.”
Dachs tallied 15 kills and 12 digs in one of her best matches since returning from an early-season injury. Maddie Lobenstein had a team-best 16 kills, guided by Meghan Donovan’s career-best 56 assists. The Bulldogs capitalized on 11 service aces, as Lobenstein tabbed four and Cassidy Anderson finished with three.
After falling behind 4-1 early in the opening set, the Bulldogs battled back to claim their first lead of the match 11-10. A tightly-contested set throughout that saw the teams deadlocked at 19, the Bulldogs reeled off five of the last six points hitting .471, taking the opening set 25-20.
The Aggies, who have now won six of their last seven SEC matches, found their footing in the second set and forced a Bulldog timeout after gaining an 18-14 advantage. Unable to halt the run, the Bulldogs dropped the second set 25-17, as the Aggies evened the match after capitalizing on five unforced Georgia errors.
In a thrilling third set that saw the Aggies take another early lead, it was Lobenstein’s ace to tie the set at 12 that turned momentum back in the Bulldogs’ favor. Georgia pulled ahead behind five kills by Dachs, closing out the set 25-21 for a 2-1 lead.
The Bulldogs took a commanding 19-13 lead in the fourth set looking to close out the match, but the Aggies would not go down quietly. After clawing back to tie the match at 22, Texas A&M fought its way to a 26-24 win.
As it looked like the Bulldogs would seize an opportunity up 5-2 in the fifth set, the Aggies rattled off 13 of the next 15 points to take the deciding set 15-7 and seal the match win.