University of Georgia freshman Mallory Hernandez (left) and senior Anna Kate Karstens (right) go up to block during their match against University of South Carolina in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia on Sunday, September 30, 2018. The Bulldogs lost the match in 5 sets. (Photo/Caroline Barnes, caroline.barnes3710@gmail.com)

Georgia volleyball lost to Auburn 3-0 Thursday in the team's first game back in Athens after three games on the road.

In a competitive SEC matchup, going point-for-point for much of the match, the Bulldogs fell 26-24 in the first set with seven ties and three lead changes. Auburn took a 2-0 lead in the match with the second set.

The third set started off much like the first two, a head-to-head battle for the lead. Auburn took the set and the match, 27-29.

In the loss, freshman Mallory Hernandez shined, recording her season high of 14 kills against the Tigers.

“Mallory has been huge. She has a great future ahead of her carrying a big load and she is not even close to where she is going to be,” head coach Tom Black said.

Moments of the match

Starting off the first set, the Bulldogs took the first three points of the match with a kill from Hernandez. Hernandez had five kills and three digs in the first set. 

“I don’t really think about it. I just swing and hope I get the kill, so I think Meghan did a really great job getting me my sets, and that’s where I got a lot of kills,” Hernandez said.

With a block to start off the second set by senior middle blocker Anna Kate Karstens, the Bulldogs scored the first point followed by a kill from Karstens. Karstens had seven kills to by the end of the match.

Following three consecutive points by Auburn and a timeout by the Bulldogs, senior outside hitter Katie Houser had a kill.

Senior defensive specialist Sydney Gilliam had an ace followed by a kill from Hernandez to dig into the Tigers lead, making it 21-14 in the second set.

A look ahead

The Georgia Bulldogs will continue their remaining matches of the season at Stegeman Coliseum, facing No. 13 Florida Sunday, Arkansas on Nov. 21 and Mississippi State on Nov. 23. 

“It’s great to be home and obviously helps the recovery and allows your to prepare a little better for the next match up and we are going to take advantage of it,” Black said.

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