Evans eliminations net historic UGA win over Towson in NCAA

18 hours ago
Georgia Athletics

Photo: Georgia Athletics

AUSTIN, TX- The University of Georgia women’s volleyball team defeated eighth-seeded Towson in four sets Thursday night at Gregory Gymnasium in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (25-10, 25-23, 21-25 , 25-20).

The Bulldogs advance to the second round and play the winner between (1) Texas and Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday at 9 p.m. ET.

Georgia climbs to 23-7 for the 2022 season. This is Georgia’s first victory in an NCAA tournament since 1995.

The Bulldogs offense was led by 26 kills from Kacie Evans senior on a .380 clip. The number of casualties was its second highest of the season. She had eight digs, an ace and two blocks in the game.

Junior Sophie Fischer contributed 12 kills on .455 percentage with eight blocks. Libero Bailey Cox led the defense with 15 digs.

On the service line, Georgia had six aces in the game, including three from setter Alexa Fortin.

Georgia took an early 3-0 lead, then used an 11-1 run to propel themselves to a 14-3 advantage in the first stanza. The run included three blocks and two service aces. Georgia kept their foot on the gas, advancing 18-6 and forcing Towson’s final timeout (29-2). The Dogs never looked back and took a 25-10 first set win. Fischer had five kills with three blocks while Evans had four kills in the opening set. Towson was held to a -.088 clip in the set.

The Bulldogs’ momentum continued in the second set, taking a 9-2 lead over the Tigers. Towson turned the tables and used a 7-1 run to cut the lead to 11-10. Towson found his first lead of the game before the second set media break, 15-14. Towson led until 21-17 until Georgia regained the lead with a six-point series, 22-21. Tied at 23 all, Georgia held on to win the next two rallies to take the set 25-23 and lead 2-0 in the game.

A back-and-forth battle in the third set opened the stanza. Towson won three of four points to go ahead 13-11 and Georgia took a timeout in the third. Towson stayed ahead, leading 22-16. A 3-1 run at Georgia narrowed the gap to 23-19. After Towson drew the set point at 24-19, an Evans kill and block extended the set until Towson secured the frame 25-21, keeping the match alive.

Georgia had six straight points early in the fourth set to take a 7-2 lead. Georgia retained the lead, up six on Evans’ 25th kill, 17-11. Three straight games for the Tigers cut the lead to 19-16, prompting a timeout for Georgia. After a UGA timeout, a service error tipped the Dogs 20-point mark. Trailing 20-18, Georgia held on to wrap up the set 25-20, winning the match in four sets.

Georgia head coach Tom Black
Opening statement… “Congratulations Towson on a great season. 29-1 is tough to do no matter what. They were everything we expected of them. Their hitters were a handful and they had some tough serves. We expected a tough NCAA game Subconsciously we started pretty much on fire in the first set and then they pushed back what good teams were going to do and I was proud of how the team found a way to respond. We had some tough service runs and we were able to start converting in transition a bit. It was a new situation for our team too. We made the tournament three years ago, but it was the first time since long as we could go to the second round. I was expecting nerves but again, I think the team fought like they have all year. I’m really proud to be coaching this crew.

On what the game plan was going in the game… “Just playing Georgia volleyball. When we’re at our best, we serve hard. I think our blocking has been in spurts, but I think we’re a tough blocking team. It was about executing the game plan which I think the team did a good job. Like I said, we knew it was going to be a tough game and it was.”

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