Georgia outside hitter Kacie Evans (23) prepares to hit the ball during the Red & Black Scrimmage in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

Kacie Evans, a sophomore on the Georgia volleyball team, is looking to follow up her successful freshman year with another great season. During the 2019 season, Evans started for 28 out of the 29 matches and earned the title of SEC Freshman of the Year.

Evans entered each match last season with the same mindset: she would focus on her role in the match, which helped the team’s overall success. This year, Evans is following a similar strategy. She plans to imagine each match is the most important one she will play in her life.

“I would walk in and be like, ‘Alright, the stage is set, this is how we are gonna do it,’” Evans said. “Then win or lose, it is still gonna be really important.”

Ahead of Georgia’s first meet of the season against South Carolina on Oct. 17 and 18, Evans has set new expectations for herself and her team. Evans personal goal is to build better leadership skills during the matches.

“I started the majority of the lineups last year for all the matches, so I think it’s a big step up for me to really take stuff in as a leader for this team,” Evans said.

Head coach Tom Black is confident in the teams overall success this season, as well as Evans' individual performance.

“The sky’s the limit for Kacie,” Coach Black said. “She had a huge impact her freshman year, she works like crazy and she is super passionate. She’s a complete player, she has all the skills.”

Evans said the volleyball team shares the same goal which is to make the NCAA tournament or the SEC championship. With all fall NCAA championships being canceled, the Bulldogs will be left just competing for the SEC championship. Nonetheless, they set high expectations for themselves each time they step on the court.

“We all handle it really differently, but at the same time were all together as one,” Evans said. “So those differences can actually mean a lot to make a big piece of the puzzle.”

In relation to COVID-19 concerns, the Georgia volleyball team has been adamant about following the proper regulations. Evans believes the Bulldogs have done the best job at following health and safety protocols instructed by Georgia and the coaches. She credits the upcoming season to the team's dedication to adhering those protocols.

“We were following every guideline we had, we weren’t being stupid,” Evans said. “We were doing our jobs because we wanted to have a season, even if that meant sanitizing every twenty minutes.”

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