VOLLEYBALL: UGA Opens Season This Weekend

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VOLLEYBALL: UGA Opens Season This Weekend

Georgia head coach Tom Black during a match against Ole Miss. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Georgia head coach Tom Black during a match against Ole Miss. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

Georgia (0-0, 0-0 SEC) 
vs. South Carolina (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Dates: Saturday, Oct. 17-Sunday, Oct. 18
Times: Saturday – 2 p.m.; Sunday – 12 p.m., noon 
Location: Athens, Ga. 
Arena: Stegeman Coliseum 
     Admission: FREE (no tickets required) 

Media Information
Streaming Video: SEC Network+ (Saturday)
     Play-by-play: Kaleb Frady
     Analysis: Nikki Chester
TV: SEC Network (Sunday)
     Play-by-play: Paul Sunderland
     Analysis: Missy Whittemore
Live Stats: GeorgiaDogs.com 
Twitter: @UGAvolleyball

First Serve
The Georgia volleyball team opens the 2020 season at Stegeman Coliseum against the South Carolina Gamecocks Oct. 17-18. Saturday’s season opener will begin at 2 p.m., ET, with Sunday’s match beginning at noon. 

The Bulldogs and Gamecocks will face off in a split doubleheader over two days as part of the Southeastern Conference schedule format this season.

Follow the Bulldogs
» Saturday’s match will stream live on SEC Network+. Kaleb Frady (play-by-play) and Nikki Chester (analysis) will be on the call. 
» Sunday’s match is set to air nationally on SEC Network. Paul Sunderland (play-by-play) and Missy Whittemore (analysis) will be on the call.
» Live stat links can be found on the volleyball schedule on GeorgiaDogs.com. 
» Twitter updates will be available all season long on the official Twitter page of the Bulldogs, @UGAvolleyball

Upcoming Promotions at Stegeman
» Admission is FREE to all regular-season home matches; the SEC Clear Bag Policy will be in effect
Saturday, Oct. 17
Wear Black » The first 300 fans will receive a black t-shirt
Sunday, Oct. 18
Wear Pink » The first 300 fans will receive a pink t-shirt

COVID-19 Fan Policies and Procedures at Stegeman Coliseum
Volleyball matches at Stegeman Coliseum will be open to the public in 2020. Admission is free and tickets are not required for entry. Following the University of Georgia COVID-19 on-campus policy, fans will be required to wear face coverings at all times while in Stegeman Coliseum and social distancing measures will be practiced. Only cashless payments will be accepted at Stegeman this season for concessions. 

BULLDOGS BULLETIN
Series History
– Georgia leads the all-time series against the Gamecocks, 49-24; since South Carolina joined the SEC, the Bulldogs lead the series 33-23
– In Athens, Georgia holds a 23-12 lead against South Carolina
– South Carolina holds the advantage in the 10 most recent meetings, winning six
– Four of the last five meetings between Georgia and South Carolina have gone five sets including both matches last season; each team won on the road in 2019

Up Next
The Bulldogs will have about a week and a half before their next competition. Georgia will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee for a midweek series with the Tennessee Lady Vols Wednesday, Oct. 28 and Thursday, Oct. 29. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m. and both will air nationally on the networks of ESPN. 

2020 SEC Schedule Setup
The 2020 SEC volleyball season will consist of an eight-match, Conference-only schedule over six weeks of competition beginning October 16 with each school competing against four opponents twice in the same weekend on back-to-back days. SEC volleyball teams will participate in spring competition as well, with details of formats contingent on final decisions by the NCAA to conduct a spring championship.

Black Approaching 300 Wins
Head coach Tom Black, in his 17th season as a head coach, is one win away from the 300th of his career. In 11 seasons at the Division I level, he has accumulated 185 wins and 59 in four seasons at Georgia. Black’s 299 wins are fifth among the active head coaches in the SEC behind Mary Wise (Florida), Fran Flory (LSU), Craig Skinner (Kentucky), and Lindsey Devine (Alabama). 

Bulldogs Receiving Votes in AVCA Poll
The Georgia volleyball has received votes in all three AVCA Coaches Polls this season. The poll ranks the Top 15 among teams competing this fall. The SEC has four teams represented in the top 15 with three more receiving votes. 

Georgia Picked Sixth in SEC Preseason Poll
The Bulldogs were picked sixth in the SEC Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. Georgia finished fifth in 2019 with a 12-6 record. Kentucky was picked to win the league in 2020. 

The Bulldogs at Home
Georgia concluded the 2019 home schedule with a 7-4 record. In the first three seasons under Tom Black, Georgia has notched a record at home of 25-15. Season one saw Georgia go 12-5 in Athens. The 2018 season was the first full-time season for Georgia volleyball in Stegeman Coliseum as Georgia went .500 at 6-6. In home-opening tournaments the last two seasons, the Bulldogs are 7-0. 

O Canada! 
In February 2019, Tom Black was named the head coach of the Canadian Women’s Indoor National Team. Volleyball Canada won the FIVB Women’s Challenger in Lima, Peru in June 2019, qualifying for the Nations League Tournament in 2020; unfortunately, the VNL was canceled due to COVID-19. 

A Look at the 2020 Squad
Georgia’s roster features 18 total student-athletes, the largest roster in the history of the program. The squad is a near-perfect mix of classes (4 seniors, 5 juniors, 5 sophomores, 4 freshmen). Five starters return from the 2019 NCAA Tournament squad including SEC Freshman of the Year Kacie Evans and Rachel Ritchie on the outside as well as Sage Naves and Kianna Young in the middle with Kayla Rivera on the opposite pin. Claire Rothenberger is expected to fill the libero jersey following the graduation of Kendall Glover. Setting duties will be taken over by Dalaney Hans and Brynn Chandler as All-SEC setter Meghan Donovan graduated in May. Louisville transfer Amber Stivrins will bolster Georgia’s outside attack while freshman middle blocker Phoebe Awoleye looks to makes some noise in the middle during her rookie season. 

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