LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Georgia women's volleyball team took down #12 Kentucky Friday evening in five sets at Memorial Coliseum (25-23, 25-23, 20-25, 15-25, 15-12).
It's the first victory over Kentucky since 2013 when the Bulldogs defeated the then 15th-ranked Wildcats in five in Athens. It's Kentucky's first Southeastern Conference loss since Nov. 1, 2017 (Florida, 0-3).
In the third set of Friday's match, junior libero Kendall Glover recorded the 1,000th dig of her career. She becomes the 20th member of the 1,000-dig club and the first since Cassidy Anderson in 2017. Glover finished the match with a career-best 27 digs.
The Bulldogs put three in double-digit kills, led by 15 from freshman Kacie Evans. She was followed closely behind by 14 from junior Kianna Young and 13 from junior Rachel Ritchie.
Evans recorded her third double-double in a row, putting up 10 digs and contributed three blocks.
On the net, sophomore Sage Naves put up a career-best eight blocks, the most by a Bulldog this season.
Senior setter Meghan Donovan dished out a season-best 54 assists.
An early 5-1 run by the Bulldogs forced a timeout from the Wildcat bench, 9-5 Georgia. The Bulldogs were able to hold the Wildcats off, leading by as much as six in the opening stanza. A kill by Kayla Rivera drew set point for Georgia, 24-20. Kentucky surged with three-straight to slice the lead to a point, 24-23.
Ritchie's seventh kill secured the first set for Georgia, 25-23. Defensively, Glover tipped the double-digit mark with 10 digs in the first.
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Georgia's first set win was the first time Georgia has taken a set from Kentucky since Nov. 7, 2014, which also happened to be in Lexington.
With the Bulldogs up 6-5 in the second, Kentucky took five of the next six rallies to open a 10-7 lead and force a Georgia timeout. Down 17-12, Georgia won four-straight to slice the lead to one, 17-16.
A 4-0 run propelled the Bulldogs into the lead in the set, highlighted by service aces from Brynn Chandler, one to tie, the next to extend the lead, 22-20. Tied at 22, a kill from Evans and a block by Evans and Naves drew set point. A Wildcat service into the net secured the set for Georgia 25-23 and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Kentucky jumped out to a small lead early in set three. Down 10-8, a 4-0 Bulldog run gave Georgia the lead, 12-10. The Bulldogs opened their lead, leading by as much as four, 19-15. Kentucky then went on a 10-1 run to overtake the lead and steal the set, 25-20, to stay alive in the match.
Georgia came out early, but Kentucky responded to quickly find a lead of its own in the fourth set. The Wildcats rode the early advantage to a 25-15 win in set four to tie the match and force a decisive fifth set.
An early 3-0 run by Georgia put the Bulldogs ahead 4-2. Another 3-0 opened the lead a little more going into the end change, 8-4. Kentucky narrowed the lead to 10-9, but Georgia rebounded to take four of the next five rallies and draw set point, 14-10.
The Wildcats survived a little long winning the next two points. Evans' 15th kill secured the upset for the Bulldogs, 15-12.
Up next, Georgia welcomes LSU to Stegeman Coliseum Sunday. First serve against the Tigers is set for 2 p.m. Sunday's match will be Georgia's Pink Match. Fans who donate $5 will receive a pink t-shirt. Admission is free.
Head Coach Tom Black
On the big win…
"I'm incredibly proud of the girls. Anytime you play Kentucky, it's not easy. Anytime you play them on their home court, it's even less easy. It was a battle of a match. We knew if we had a chance to win, it was going to be a battle, we knew that. I couldn't be more proud of the girls. This was a big win for our program."
On keeping the momentum going…
"We just have to continue to get better. I know that's cliché but the ability to do is hard and I think that's what makes people on the team special. You're always going to have your ups and downs but you have to keep going forward, you have to learn the lessons and you have to learn to get better from them. I think this team's done an amazing job of that. That's what we have to keep doing. We have another good test on Sunday. We're going to enjoy this for tonight, though, but we know we have another tough one on Sunday."
On Kendall Glover and her 1,000 digs…
"Kendall is someone who craves the moment, she never gets small, she's always big. She's been doing that for three years now. We're lucky to have her in our program and really happy for her to have these moments. She's such a competitor and deserves it."