The Georgia sidelines erupt when a point is scored. The University of Georgia volleyball team faced off against Tennessee to win by a score of 3-1 on Oct. 4, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

The Georgia volleyball team recorded its biggest win of the season with a five-set victory over the No. 12-ranked Kentucky at the Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky, on Friday night.

Georgia hadn’t beaten Kentucky since 2013, when the Bulldogs pulled off another five-set win over the Wildcats, ranked No. 15 at the time. Kentucky hadn’t lost an SEC match since Nov. 1, 2017, in a straight-sets defeat to Florida.

“I’m incredibly proud of the girls,” Georgia head coach Tom Black said. “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.”

Junior libero Kendall Glover put on a special performance in the win with a career-high 27 digs and recorded her 1,000th career dig in the third set. She is now the 20th member of the 1000-dig club and the first since Cassidy Anderson in 2017. Freshman Kacie Evans led the team in kills with 15 for her third consecutive double-double.

Georgia’s win in the opening set was the first time the Bulldogs had taken a set from Kentucky since Nov. 7, 2014. The win continued a blazing start to SEC play for Georgia in Black’s third season, as the team now sits at 12-4 overall and 4-1 in the conference. The momentum that culminated in this historic victory began in the tightly-contested road defeat to then-No. 12 Florida, from which Black’s team responded to crank out solid victories at home against Tennessee and Alabama before pulling the upset in Lexington on Friday.

Keeping up that same energy and momentum will be no easy task. The bright start to SEC play highlighted by the Kentucky win shows that 2019 could be a special season, but Black said he remains focused on keeping this team on an upward trajectory.

“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,” Black said. “I think this team’s done an amazing job of that. 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.”

Georgia will head back to Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday for a home SEC clash against the LSU Tigers at 2 p.m.

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