University of Georgia middle blocker Majesti Bass (19) blocks a shot made by Auburn University middle blocker Chesney McClellan (7) during a match against the Auburn University Tigers on Nov. 15, 2018 at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. Despite Georgia holding the Tigers in a tight third set, they were unable to convert on set point opportunities; the Tigers won the third set 29-27 to win the match 3-0 in sets. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

In its final game of the regular season, Georgia volleyball defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs in four sets, 3-1, at Stegeman Coliseum.

The Bulldogs finish the season with an overall record of 15-14 and a 6-12 record in SEC play. It’s the first time since 2008 and 2009 that Georgia has finished over .500 in back-to-back seasons.

“[These seniors] mean everything; they’ve gone through so much,” said head coach Tom Black. “The first two years, the program was really struggling, and they’ve done so much work in their last two years to help lift this program up.”

With a new career high in her final game of the season, senior middle blocker Majesti Bass tallied 20 kills. Freshman outside hitter Mallory Hernandez had her fourth double-digit kill total in the last five matches with 19 kills Friday night.

Senior middle blocker Anna Kate Karstens tallied 12 kills and sophomore outside hitter Rachel Ritchie finished with 10. This is Ritchie’s third double-double of the season with 10 digs and a career-best of three aces.

Going head-to-head, the Georgia Bulldogs were up 9-8 and with a three-point run they were able to tie it at 17. After a Mississippi State timeout, Mississippi State went on a 7-1 run to win the set 25-19.

Georgia volleyball maintained the lead for much of the second set early on. A 4-1 run by Mississippi State tied it up at 18. Hernandez’s eighth kill secured the set for Georgia, 25-22.

 Georgia volleyball allowed five consecutive points from Mississippi State in the third set. Mississippi State drew up match point, but Georgia won the set 33-31 to push the match to a fourth set. The team's 33 points ties the record of the third-most points scored in a set.

The fourth set was controlled by Georgia throughout its entirety. The Bulldogs opened the set with a 9-2 lead. Georgia used the early lead to roll to a 25-13 win for the fourth set and take the match.

“I definitely have not coached a team that has gone through this much adversity in a single season,” Black said. “We wouldn’t have been able to pick two wins up at the end of the season if they hadn’t had led as well as they did. They’re a special group of people. We’ll miss them a lot.”

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