Georgia outside hitter Rachel Ritchie (7) calls a ball out during an NCAA volleyball match between the University of Georgia and the University of Arkansas in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga. (Photo by Kristin M. Bradshaw)

The Georgia volleyball team started the 2020 season by falling at home to South Carolina in straight sets. While the lead was never out of reach for the Bulldogs, small errors caused them to come away with the loss.

Georgia’s offensive attack was guided by 10 kills from senior Rachel Ritchie. Sophomore Amber Stivrins and junior Mallory Hernadnez earned eight kills, and both Ritchie and Stivrins logged an ace. Stivrins led the defense with 12 digs. 

Head Coach Tom Black is not letting the loss affect the Bulldogs’ goals for the season. He plans to come back stronger for their match tomorrow. 

“We’ll break it down tonight and I’ll learn a lot more,” Coach Black said. “We can play better in every phase. We’re excited to show that tomorrow.” 

Midway through the first set, South Carolina went on a 6-0 run to pull ahead 19-11. Georgia responded, getting the score to 23-21 before South Carolina closed out the set 25-21. 

Set two began with the Bulldogs claiming a 7-4 lead. It quickly vanished, and once the Gamecocks went up 10-9, they didn’t look back. Georgia lost the second set 19-25. 

Georgia put up a fight in the final set, which included 18 ties and 11 lead changes. While Georgia managed to keep it close, errors lost the match. Georgia committed 22 errors to South Carolina’s 12, the majority of which came in the final frame. Its third defeat of the night, Georgia fell 25-23 in the third set.

“I thought, obviously, we played better in the third set,” Black said. “We’ve got some work to do and have to rebound for tomorrow.”

The Bulldogs' rematch against South Carolina is set for Sunday at noon ET at Stegeman Coliseum.

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