As the Georgia volleyball team prepared for its final match of the season inside the Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday, the attention of 2,586 people in attendance quickly turned toward setter Meghan Donovan, the lone senior on this year’s team.
Donovan was recognized by teammates, coaches, family, and fans for her four years as a Bulldog, acknowledging a career that includes 4,814 assists and 1,037 digs. Those achievements cement her as the 14th member of Georgia’s Double Grand Club and the first setter to do so since 1991.
Donovan has appeared in all 122 matches since the start of her freshman season, securing her legacy as one of the all-time greats in Georgia volleyball history.
“Meghan Donovan is the heart and soul of Georgia volleyball,” junior Rachel Ritchie said. “She’s been my best friend since the day I got here. She’s the leader that we all follow.”
For four years, Donovan has been at the center of the court for Georgia, often seen after every play huddled around her teammates, offering words of instruction and encouragement.
“She’s meant everything [to the program],” Georgia head coach Tom Black said. “Her constant improvement, her being one of the top setters in the country, she’s just led this program in so many ways.”
The final match inside Stegeman against No. 15 Florida may have been bittersweet, as it ended in a 3-0 defeat, but she has led this year’s team to a 19-9 overall record and an 11-6 record in the SEC. She’s been an integral part of Georgia’s improvement since her freshman season when the Bulldogs went 1-17 in conference play.
Donovan has endured plenty of highs and lows during her time at Georgia, but as expected, leaving Stegeman for the final time wasn’t easy.
“It’s been a second home,” Donovan said. “It’s tough. … This program has meant so much to me. The coaches, the players, they’ve turned into sisters and family. I’ve been blessed to be here.”
Ritchie, an outside hitter who has received a lot of Donovan’s passes over the years, was quick to say what she’ll most remember her for.
“I’m going remember her confidence,” Ritchie said. “There’s been a lot of people going against her throughout her whole career. She’s never let that get to her, and she’s just continued to push through.”