The UGA volleyball team returns to the court after a conference sweep over Mississippi State as the Lady Bulldogs take on Missouri this evening at 7:30 p.m. ET in Columbia. The match will be televised on the SEC Network Plus and live stats will be available on Georgidogs.com.
Georgia and Missouri have played a total of 10 times, with Missouri taking six of the contests. The last time the teams played, Missouri was ranked No. 22 and overtook Georgia in straight sets. Cassidy Anderson led the defensive effort in the match with 11 digs.
GEORGIA ON THE BRINK OF 800TH WIN IN PROGRAM HISTORY
With one win, the Bulldogs will record their 800th win in program history. Georgia is in its 40th season, entering the Missouri contest 799-487. Since its initiation in 1978, the program has collected two SEC championships and nine NCAA tournament appearances, the last in 2013.
GEORGIA RANKED IN TOP HALF OF SEC IN EVERY OFFENSIVE CATEGORY
The Georgia offense has placed itself in the top six 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 1.49 average, highlighted by T’ara Ceasar and Sydney Gilliam, who have led the team in service aces in seven matches this season. Ceasar ranks fifth in the SEC in service aces individually.
Led by Majesti Bass with a .309 hitting percentage, the Bulldogs are fourth at .243. In kills, Georgia boasts a sixth-place position (13.39), 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 fourth-place spot with 10.72 per match, bringing Georgia to its fifth position as a team. The setter’s mark also ranks 39th in the nation.
CEASAR HIGHLIGHTS GEORGIA SEASON FOR KILLS IN THREE-SET MATCH
In Georgia’s sweep over Mississippi State on Sunday, Ceasar led the Bulldogs with 18 kills in three sets, which is the most by a Georgia player in a three-set match this season. Ritchie had posted 17 in three-set matches against Oklahoma and Florida Gulf Coast University earlier in the year. Last week, Ceasar and Ritchie paired up for 19 kills apiece in five sets against Tennessee on Wednesday, marking the third time the Georgia duo has totaled 18 or more kills in a match. The last time any Bulldog pair did so was in 2012.
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 freshman began in 2005. Two other Georgia players have earned the honor twice: Jasmine Eatmon in 2012 and Maria Taylor in 2005. The award was Georgia’s sixth weekly honor in five weeks, which is the most any Georgia volleyball team has acquired in one season. In 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008, the program had four weekly acknowledgments.
The recognition followed another strong weekend for the native of Panama City, Fla., who led Georgia with 23 kills on the weekend, averaging 3.83 per set. She recorded a .400 hitting percentage with 16 kills in Georgia’s win over Alabama on Friday. Against Auburn on Sunday, Ceasar led the defensive front with Meghan Donovan, tallying 12 digs each.
DONOVAN GUIDES THE DEFENSE
Sophomore Meghan Donovan continues to set up the Georiga offense, leading the team with 804 assists on the year, good for 10.72 per set. The setter also tops the team in double-doubles, combining for eight on the season. In Georgia’s five-set battle with Tennessee on Wednesday, the native of St. Louis, Missouri matched her career-high with 56 assists, guiding the Bulldogs to a total of 62 kills with a .272 hitting percentage. She helped provide 19 kills apiece for freshmen Rachel Ritchie and T’ara Ceasar.
In non-conference play, Donovan recorded over 100 kills per week, which earned her SEC Setter of the Year after her performance at the Bobcat Invitational, finishing the tournament with 123 assists, 18 digs, and three blocks. The sophomore has also posted top-five SEC performances against Florida Gulf Coast and Texas Tech for three-set and four-set matches.
Georgia has played in four five-set matches this year, including three in the past five games. It took Wofford and Ole Miss five sets to take down Georgia, before the Bulldogs topped South Carolina, coming back from a first-set loss to use up all the possible frames. The Gamecock match was Georgia’s second-straight five-set match, in which Georgia held South Carolina to an .082 hitting percentage, which is the second-lowest performance of a conference opponent against Georgia this year.
The most recent five-set match christened the newly renovated Stegeman Coliseum against Tennessee last week. Donvoan, Ceasar and Ritchie led the attack, with Donovan and Ceasar posting double-doubles, but the Volunteers held on to the final two sets for a 3-2 victory.