Georgia volleyball wins four of five sets in exhibition match against Clemson | Georgia Sports

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Georgia Volleyball won four out of five sets in Saturday’s exhibition match against Clemson at Stegeman Coliseum. It was the first opportunity for fans to see the 2022 team in action and the start of the Bulldogs season.

“I think it was a really positive first day,” said head coach Tom Black. “There is a ton to work on. You always expect that, but I thought there were a ton of positives.

Clemson started the first set with a 7-4 lead, which was quickly tied thanks to a combined defensive and offensive effort from junior and Kentucky transfer Sophie Fischer.

The score remained tight, until a 4-0 run by the Bulldogs, capped off by senior outside forward Kacie Evans’ back-to-back attacks. This gave the Bulldogs a four-point lead and momentum, which they would ride on momentum throughout the set. Evans finished the set with five kills and Georgia won the set 25-20.

Evans’ strong start would continue in the second set, with two kills propelling Georgia to a 4-2 lead. Clemson would come back and tie the set up. Each team traded leads until another Georgia offensive push led by Evans, Fischer and freshman hitter off hitter Tori Harper. It resulted in a 9-4 run, dominating the set and winning 25-15. Both Evans and Fischer would finish the set with five kills.

Early in the third set, Clemson quickly took a 6-1 lead, before Georgia rallied. After a tight back-and-forth, Georgia retired with a 7-1 run to make the score 17-14. Clemson would fight back to even the score at 23-23, but back-to-back kills from Kacie Evans would put the Tigers on the sidelines. Georgia won the set 25-23.

Both Georgia and Clemson had agreed to play five sets before the exhibition match, so instead of what would have been a Georgia victory, both teams continued to play.

Although Coach Black seated his starters in the fourth set, the Bulldogs took control, holding a seven-point lead over the Tigers at 18-11. Clemson pulled himself together, however, going on a 14-3 comeback run to steal the set from Georgia, winning 25-21.

The Bulldogs starters returned to the court for the fifth set but fell behind quickly. Clemson managed to hold a lead over Georgia for most of the set.

With the score at 14-11 and Clemson on match point, Georgia led a 3-0 run to turn match point in two thanks to the offensive efforts of Tori Harper and senior outside hitter Amber Stivrins. Clemson managed to save a match point at 15-14, however, a block from graduate Sage Powell brought it back to par, and soon Georgia took a point from Clemson and faced a ball from match.

Clemson attempted to rally like Georgia had done twice before in the set, but was unsuccessful, the combined strength of Fischer and Harper ending Clemson’s attack with a block winner.

Kacie Evans put in an impressive performance in this game, with a record 18 eliminations, 17 of which came from the first three sets alone. Additionally, she put up four blocks and seven digs, showing tenacity on the defensive end. Entering her senior year, Evans looks set for the season ahead.

“We’re only going up,” Harper said. “I think this group is something special. We are only improving. Just looking at what we have in terms of opponents, we are ready and we are hungry.

A hungry Georgia squad now looks to the regular season, as the Bulldogs prepare for the Classic City Clash on Aug. 26-27, facing Troy on Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum.

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