The crowd in Stegeman Coliseum was almost silent after the Georgia volleyball team lost its first set 25-16 against LSU on Sunday afternoon. The Bulldogs brought the crowd back to life when they won the second set 25-18.
Georgia's performance in the second set changed the momentum of the match and led to the Bulldogs' victory over the Tigers. It was Georgia's fourth consecutive win.
“Coach told us that what we played wasn’t Georgia volleyball in the first set,” middle blocker Kianna Young said. “We know better, we know how to play, we know our system, and we just had to focus on the basics and go back to what we know.”
The beginning of the second set was extremely close, with the lead changing five times between the two teams.
The Bulldogs eventually gained a three-point lead on the Tigers, a lead Georgia wouldn't relinquish.
“This team has a backbone and a lot of heart,” head coach Tom Black said. “We may not win every single game, but we aren’t just going to lay down and I think the girls have really proven that and it is really cool to watch.”
With LSU's strong offense — led by 6-foot-5 Taylor Bannister — Georgia’s defense picked up its game and started covering Bannister more closely, catching the Tigers by surprise.
“It was definitely very difficult, and we knew she was going to be very competitive and very hard to dig off of,” libero Kendall Glover said. “But I thought our blockers really picked it up and did a great job in the end by figuring out her tendencies and overall I think we did a really great job in making those changes.”
Along with this improved coverage, the Bulldogs stepped up offensively as well, hitting smarter and harder shots, which helped them get a total of 15 kills within this set.
Young, who had five kills in the second set, and Kayla Rivera (four kills) were both consistent and smart with their shots.
“I think trusting my setter Meghan really helped me be successful because even if I got blocked the first time, she would be willing to set me the second time, which kept me going,” Young said. “We started working on things with the passers which really helped the team overall flow better.”