Georgia lost its first home game of the season at Stegeman Coliseum against Kentucky in three sets. The Bulldogs had previously beaten the Wildcats in five sets in Lexington, Kentucky.
“Tonight we played scared to lose,” sophomore Sages Naves said. “We didn’t bring that level of intensity that we had last game. I think we could have played with more of a chip on our shoulder and remembered that our system can work against them since we’ve beat them before.”
Kentucky dominated offensively, earning 16 kills in the set while Georgia only earned seven. Georgia’s offense was led by Kacie Evans and Sage Naves who earned three kills each.
The Wildcats started with a lead, forcing the Bulldogs to play catch up to the Wildcats and ended up losing the first set 25-16.
“We were all mentally out of it, including me,” Evans said. “We thought we were prepared but obviously we didn’t look very prepared in the first set. If we played the first set how the played the third we could have swept them. It comes to show that you have to be mentally prepared from the start.”
Kentucky kept its momentum going into the second set, beginning with another quick lead before eventually winning 25-18. Georgia stepped up its offense and earned 13 kills that were led by Naves and Evans, who both earned three more kills.
“We need to play harder, especially from the start,” Black said . “Our offense got more consistent during the third set and our blocking got better too but it was just too late, so we need to improve from the start."
The third set started off close with the teams having long and continuous rallies with the score knotted in a tie eight times and the lead changing three times.
Georgia finally went on a three-point run against the Wildcats, putting the score at 12-9.
After Naves earned her fifth block of the match, Kentucky decided to call a timeout at 14-11.
“We were doing a really good job at front loading,” Naves said. “We talked about what each hitter would be hitting during it so there were no surprises.”
Georgia eventually relinquished a small two-point lead of 21-19. Going into a timeout, the score was at knotted at 23-23. Then Wildcats earned the final two points to win the final set 25-23.
Georgia plans on improving before its next match against Missouri this upcoming Sunday at 2 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum.
“We have to learn from the loss, but also move on,” junior Kendall Glover said. “We are going to watch film and get into practice tomorrow because we want to play better on Sunday.”