A balanced attack from both sides of the ball fueled Georgia’s straight-set victory, 25-14, 25-19, 25-16, over Mississippi State on Sunday at the Newell-Grissom Building.
A stout defensive front from Georgia (13-8, 3-5) held the Mississippi State offense to a .053 hitting percentage, the lowest of a conference opponent this year. On the offensive side, the Georgia attackers posted a .361 hitting percentage, which is its highest mark against a SEC opponent.
Freshman outside hitter T’ara Ceasar drove the Georgia performance with 18 kills at a .375 hitting percentage, eight digs, and two block assists. Sophomore setter Meghan Donovan guided the offense with 36 assists on the day, while junior middle blocker Majesti Bass led the defense with six block assists.
“The most important thing is our ability to learn and improve,” head coach Tom Black said. “We’re continuing to make changes on the court that will lead to better plays. Every conference match is a challenge, and we’re excited to get back to work.”
An early back-and-forth first set was diminished by a late eight-point run from Georgia, bringing the match to 22-12. The surge featured a pair of kills from Ceasar, one from redshirt freshman Kianna Young and a service ace from junior Sydney Gilliam.
Georgia sealed the opening frame at 25-14, complete with five total blocks. Bass led the ambush at the net with three block assists, combined with two block assists from Ceasar, Young, and Donovan. Kazor also tacked on one of her own.
In the second set, Mississippi State (9-14, 0-8) tied up the score eight times, but only took the lead once. Georgia used 16 kills, including eight from Ceasar and four from Bass, who had six on the day, to expand its match lead by two with a 25-19 score.
The Georgia lead swelled by as many as 11 points in the third set, as the Bulldogs from Athens controlled the final frame from the first 3-0 advantage. Freshman Rachel Ritchie, who had 12 kills on the match, provided a trio in the final frame to extend Georgia’s seven-point run, capped at 13-4. Georgia remained in command till the 25-16 final.
The three-set match marked Georgia’s second sweep of a conference team this season.
Up next, Georgia travels to face Missouri at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20, before opening a three-match homestand at Stegeman Coliseum, beginning on Oct. 25 against Arkansas.