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Sophomore Mallory Downing awaits the serve. On Friday, Aug. 27, 2021 at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens Georgia, the University of Georgia volleyball team defeated Morehead State in three straight sets. (Photo: Conor Dillon; dillon.conor11@gmail.com)

The Georgia volleyball team looked to get back in the win column in their third match of the UCF Invitational but Florida Gulf Coast had other plans on Friday night.

Florida Gulf Coast put Georgia to the test from the very first set by taking an early 5-2 lead but the Bulldogs were able to keep the score tight by eventually tying the score at 8-8. The first set would then go back and forth with Florida Gulf Coast taking the lead only for Georgia to follow closely behind.

The Bulldog’s deficit never got larger than three after tying it early on and with a 7-3 run to end the first set, they were able to take a 1-0 lead. Juniors Kacie Evans and Amber Stivrins contributed well offensively to the first set victory with five kills each.

Roles reversed in the second set where Georgia took an early 4-2 lead but could not pull away from their opponent. Just like the first set, the score remained close throughout the set and neither team got enough momentum to take a strong lead.

There were a total of nine lead changes and 15 ties in just one set. While Georgia was able to push their opponents to the very last point, their efforts were not enough to keep Florida Gulf Coast from tying the match at 1-1.

In the third set Georgia seemed to have some control over the match as they held the lead for most of the set with Stivrins and freshman Abby Maesch both putting six kills on the board. However, its lead would soon fall after Florida Gulf Coast finally made a push to tie the score at 20 after a 7-3 run. The Bulldogs would hold strong to push the set past 25 but they would eventually fall 25-27 after losing four of the next five going into the fourth and final set.

Georgia still looked strong in the last set after a 5-1 run to put them on top 12-10. Florida Gulf Coast would eventually tie it at 13 and ride that momentum into a 20-15 lead. To stay with the theme of the rest of the match, Georgia stayed close pushing the score to 22-19 but couldn't complete the comeback and lost the final set 25-19.

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs had some solid performances from Stivrins and Maesch. Stivrins finished the match with 19 kills and one ace while Maesch finished with 12 kills.

Georgia will be back at it tomorrow in Orlando where they will take on the host UCF in hopes of avoiding their fifth straight loss. The match is set to start at 3 p.m.