If you were to look at Georgia’s first match on Friday against Clemson at the Big Orange Bash, then see the first two sets on Saturday against Kennesaw State, fear for the matches ahead could have started to creep in.
Georgia lost to Clemson 3-0 on Friday. The first two sets were nail-biters, and an early run by Clemson in the third set was too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
Then on Saturday, Kennesaw State captured close victories in sets one and two with a score of 25-20 and 25-21, seeming all too familiar to the day before. Just like Friday, one team jumped out to an early lead in the third set and maintained it to the end. Only this time, Georgia found itself on the winning side.
During the second set, Georgia was faced with a 23-13 deficit and followed it up with a 7-0 run only to eventually come up short. But that small piece of momentum carried over into the third.
“I think it was just an emotional response,” head coach Tom Black said. “Our backs were against the wall... Not every team does respond. [It was good] to see that we weren’t going to go down without a fight. I thought Meghan [Donovan] and Rachel [Ritchie] kind of just led the way, and everyone stepped up with them.”
By stepping up, Coach Black eluded to Georgia’s example of finding ways to win when they need to and taking control of the matches.
After the shaky start, Georgia then won six straight sets against Kennesaw State and Wofford to seal the first two wins of the season.
With such a small sample size so far, it might seem as if Georgia is a streaky team, having lost the first five sets of the season and turning around to win the next six. The challenge for the rest of this week is finding a way to pack up that momentum with their luggage and bring it to Long Beach, California, for the Long Beach Tournament.
“We have to be super aware of what we did to get us there,” junior Rachel Ritchie said. “Just being aware that… we can carry that on now. The games this weekend start right now.”