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Georgia defensive specialist Brynn Chandler (12) prepares to serve. The Georgia volleyball team lost to the University of Missouri Tigers 3-1 on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

With the 2020 SEC-only volleyball season starting on Saturday, Georgia looks to improve in many different ways. Squad depth, position changes and experience are the keys that head coach Tom Black thinks will help push the Bulldogs to the next level.

Georgia had an electric offense in 2019. The Bulldogs were ranked third in the SEC for total kills and second in the conference for both assists and service aces. On the flip side the team struggled on defense finishing last in the SEC in blocks.

This is something that Black has focused on over the offseason recruiting players like Phoebe Awoleye to help on the defensive side of the ball. Black and his team also see squad depth as a major strength and have used position changes to improve in the upcoming season.

“We have a really deep team,” senior setter Brynn Chandler said. “So we'll always have people that are ready to step up no matter the position.”

Chandler was recruited to Georgia as a setter but was moved to defensive specialist in 2019 because of injuries. Her versatility should help to improve the Bulldogs in many ways this year.

“Brynn has always competed for the setter spot and she can still play [defensive specialist] for us depending on what system we implement,” Black said. “But she is a really good setter and that is a skill we want to develop.”

Chandler is not the only Georgia player to see a new position in 2020. Meghan Froemming is moving from middle blocker to opposite hitter and Kayla Rivera will move from outside hitter to opposite hitter as well. These moves should make room for some new faces on the defensive side.

With four returning seniors Georgia has one of its most experienced teams in recent history. Senior Rachel Ritchie sees this as a big advantage.

“I think just being able to have so many seniors compared to last year when we had one. It's a whole different dynamic of the team,” Ritchie said. “And it's super awesome to be able to listen and trust so many people that are saying something instead of just like one person.”

Georgia will put the new look roster to the test on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18 against South Carolina to open the season at Stegeman Coliseum.

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