University of Georgia defensive specialist Claire Rothenberger (2) prepares to serve the ball during a match against Louisiana State University in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.

The Georgia volleyball team lost in five sets to South Carolina on Friday night inside the Stegeman Coliseum. The loss puts Georgia’s overall record to 19-8 and its SEC record to 11-5.

Friday’s meeting marked the four of the last five matches between the Bulldogs and the Gamecocks that have gone five sets.

“[South Carolina] is a good team,” Georgia head coach Tom Black said. “We got a little soft with our swings, started making hitting errors, and started compounding. We didn’t respond very well.”

Georgia’s Kacie Evans — the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week — finished the match leading the team with 24 kills and 16 digs, both of which are new career-highs. Rachel Ritchie was second on the team in kills with 14, followed by Sage Naves with 13.

Senior setter Meghan Donovan earned her 13th double-double of the season, tallying 51 assists and 15 digs. Kendall Glover finished third on the team in digs with 14.

The Gamecocks were obtained an early 4-1 lead in the opening stanza and held it until Georgia later tied the set up at seven apiece. Georgia responded by going on a 13-6 run to take the seven-point lead. South Carolina eventually shortened the deficit to within four, but Georgia wouldn’t allow the Gamecocks to come any closer, winning the first set 25-19.

Georgia kept its momentum early in the second set, finding an early 8-3 lead. After being down 16-10 later in the match, the Gamecocks would respond by winning six of the next eight points to pull within two, forcing a Georgia timeout. A kill by Ritchie would later even the score at 23, but South Carolina would get the next two points to seal the 25-23 set victory.

After falling behind 4-2 early in the third set, South Carolina would answer by winning the next seven points to garner the 9-4 advantage. Georgia would pull within three late, but the deficit was too much to overcome, as the Bulldogs fell 25-19.

The fourth set was dominated by the Bulldogs, as they answered by securing five of the first six points to take an early 5-1 lead. Once grabbing the lead, the Bulldogs would preserve it by winning 25-17, forcing a fifth set.

Georgia seized the early 8-4 lead in the fifth set, but South Carolina responded by winning five of the next six following the end change. After being down 12-10, South Carolina outscored Georgia 5-1 to take the final set by a score of 15-13.

“We definitely had ups and downs,” sophomore Claire Rothenberger said. “Obviously the middle sets didn’t play out as we wanted … It was just one of those unfortunate, tough losses.”

Next for Georgia is a match against No. 15 Florida on Sunday at noon for the final match of the season inside Stegeman Coliseum.

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