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    SEC Volleyball Roundup: Sunday, October 6

    SUNDAY VOLEYBALL SCHEDULE/RESULTS
    Georgia 3, Ole Miss 2
    Arkansas 3, Auburn 1
    Florida 3, Alabama 0
    Kentucky 3, Tennessee 0
    South Carolina 3, Texas A&M 1

     

    Northcutt Collects 1,000th Kill as Georgia Beats Ole Miss 3-2

    ATHENS, Ga. -- Brittany Northcutt posted her third double-double of the season and collected her 1,000th career kill as Georgia (13-3, 3-1 SEC) earned a thrilling 3-2 (25-15, 22-25, 27-25, 23-25, 15-9) win over the Ole Miss Rebels (10-7, 0-4 SEC) in Southeastern Conference volleyball action on Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Ramsey Center in Athens, Ga. Northcutt became just the 16th player in school history to amass over 1,000 kills in a career. The win also sealed a weekend SEC sweep, Georgia’s first of the year, as the Bulldogs defeated Tennessee in straight sets on Friday.

    “This was a really great SEC match,” Head Coach Lizzy Stemke said. “I thought we came out really strong and really fresh. Our serve and pass game was really good at the beginning, but I have to give a lot of credit to Ole Miss for making some great adjustments and playing hard. This is a really great environment to play in and they did some things to keep us on our toes, so a lot of credit goes to them. I am constantly excited about the composure that we show at the end of matches. These are big wins for us knowing that we can battle and come from behind to win.”

    Northcutt finished with a match-high 16 kills to go along with 12 digs to lead the Bulldogs. She committed just four attack errors to hit a .324 clip for the match. Tirah Le’au added 11 kills, while Stacey Smith and Lauren Teknipp posted 10 kills each. Led by Northcutt and Allison Summers with two apiece, Georgia finished with seven service aces. Kaylee Kehoe paced the offense with 30 assists, while Maggie Baumert added 20. Smith and Desiree McCray led Georgia defensively with five blocks each as the team out blocked Ole Miss 15-10. Summers tied for a match-high 16 digs to lead Georgia.

    Georgia came out strong in the first set, easing out to an early 5-1 lead. The Bulldogs maintained the lead, but the Rebels fought back to within three at 15-12. A service error and a Northcutt kill extended Georgia’s lead to 17-12 and forced Ole Miss to use a timeout. Following the timeout, Georgia scored four of the next five points, including one on a block by Perri and Teknipp that made it a 21-13 set. The Bulldogs allowed just two more points before sealing the set 25-15 with a Le’au kill to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

    Ole Miss took an 11-6 lead at the start of the second set, causing Georgia to call a timeout. After the break, Georgia scored six-straight points to take a 12-11 lead and force the Rebels to use their first timeout of the set. The teams kept it a one-possession set until back-to-back Georgia kills and a Rebel error gave Georgia a 17-14 lead. Ole Miss fought back and tied the set at 18 and the score tied three more times before Ole Miss scored the final three points that allowed the Rebels to take a 25-22 win in the second set that tied the match at one set each.

    The Rebels had the upper hand in the early stages of the third set, taking an 11-7 lead that forced the Bulldogs to use a timeout. Georgia fought back to within one at 16-15 on a kill by Teknipp before tying set at 18 five possessions later on an Ole Miss attack error. A Kehoe service ace gave the Bulldogs its first lead of the set at 19-18. Ole Miss regained the lead at 21-19 before reaching set point on a back-to-back kills. A service error and a kill by Teknipp brought Georgia to within one before a block by Le’au and Jasmine Eatmon tied the set at 24. With Ole Miss holding a 25-24 lead, Georgia went on to score the final three points, including two on Northcutt kills, to take a 27-23 set three win and a 2-1 lead in the match.

    The fourth set began as the third set ended, with the teams battling hard for every point. Georgia was able to take a 6-4 lead on an Eatmon service ace, but the Rebels clawed their way back by scoring five-straight points to take the lead at 11-8. With Ole Miss holding a 21-14 lead, a Northcutt kill sparked a 4-0 run that including a pair of blocks that made it a 21-18 set. A kill by Le’au put Georgia to within two at 22-20 before a pair of Ole Miss kills gave the Rebels set point at 24-21. Georgia fought back to within one at 24-23 on three-straight points, but a kill allowed Ole Miss to take a 25-23 set four win that tied the match at two sets each.

    The fifth and final set remained close over the opening points, before consecutive Le’au kills gave Georgia a 4-2 lead. Ole Miss came to within one at 8-7, but Georgia scored the next five points on the serve of Northcutt to take a 13-7 lead and control of the set. Ole Miss scored just two more points before a service ace by Summers sealed Georgia’s 15-9 set five win and the 3-2 match win.

    Georgia begins a four-match road trip next Friday, Oct. 11 when it travels to Columbia, S.C., to take on South Carolina at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs then make their way to Gainesville, Fla., to face the No. 3 Florida Gators at 2 p.m., on Sunday, Oct. 13.





    Strong Offensive Output Leads to Sweep of Tennessee

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The No. 19 University of Kentucky volleyball team used another strong offensive performance and a dominating service game to sweep Tennessee 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-19) Sunday afternoon in Memorial Coliseum.

    The Wildcats (12-3, 4-0 SEC) extended their winning streak to seven matches in the win over the Lady Volunteers (8-9, 0-3), and have won 19 of their last 20 sets. The perfect 4-0 Southeastern Conference mark is the best start to conference play since 2009, when UK claimed the first nine contests to open league action.

    “They seem to be ready to go each and every match,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “I don’t really sense any kind of a different team depending on who we’re playing, whether it’s home or on the road and that’s a good sign of senior leadership and our captains making sure that everybody’s engaged. So I think that’s probably one of the most important parts of that.”

    Kentucky hit .348 with 42 kills and held the Tennessee offense to 31 kills on a .139 hitting clip. Defensively, UK had 8.5 blocks as a team, while holding UT to just 3.0. The Wildcats also had a 45-31 advantage in digs and had 10 service aces to the Lady Vols’ one.

    “That was as much pressure as we’ve put on a team with our serve in a while,” Skinner said. “And they have some very good passers on their team and I thought we did a nice job of hitting the zones that (assistant coach) Lindsey (Gray-Walton) was giving. Against good teams and as we go through the season, we’re going to have to do that because you can’t just align your block all the time. Your serve’s got to give you opportunities to score.”

    Senior Whitney Billings continued her impressive season with another double-digit kill performance. The right side hitter had 13 kills on a .267 clip and just missed out on a double-double with nine digs. Fellow senior Alexandra Morgan notched seven kills for a .400 attacking percentage, while freshman Anni Thomasson posted six kills on 11 attempts for a .545 mark. Sophomore Sara Schwarzwalder contributed six kills on a .556 clip and added a team-high five blocks. Junior Lauren O’Conner and sophomore Shelby Workman chipped in with three and two kills apiece.

    Junior Jackie Napper continued to shine defensively with a match-best 16 digs. Sophomore setter Morgan Bergren directed the offense to the tune of a .348 attacking clip while dishing out 33 assists. She added four hammers, four digs and a trio of blocks.

    Three UK players logged three aces on the afternoon including Billings, Thomasson and Bergren. The 10 service aces was a season-high total.

    UK’s next test will be its toughest of the season, Friday at No. 3 Florida. Kentucky also travels to South Carolina on Sunday.

    The Wildcats began the first set in a 2-0 hole, but after the score was knotted at six, the UK offense exploded to score 12 of the next 15 points to take an 18-9 lead. Kentucky scored six of the next 10 points to set up set point at 24-13, and, after UT notched the next score, the Wildcats secured a 25-14 win thanks to a Lady Vol service error. UK hit .348 in the frame and had 11 kills, four from Billings. The Wildcats recorded six service aces, with three coming off the arm of Bergren.

    Kentucky claimed a 25-16 decision in the second set to take a 2-0 lead. The Wildcats hit .382 in the frame on the strength of 16 kills, five from Morgan. Napper recorded seven digs in the set, while Billings added two service aces. UK opened the stanza with three-straight points, a lead it quickly extended to 11-4 and 14-6. The Wildcats and Volunteers traded points for the remainder of the set until UK took a 24-14 lead. UT fought off two-straight set points from Kentucky before a kill from Morgan resulted in the final tally.

    UK found itself down early and in a back-and-forth battle midway through the third set before a strong finish secured a 25-19 win and the sweep. The final frame featured 13 ties and six lead changes, but, with the score even at 16 apiece, Kentucky scored eight of the next 10 points to take a 24-18 lead and establish set point in which Billings laced her 13th kill of the night for the winning point. The Wildcats, thanks to six kills from Billings, hit .314 in the frame with 15 kills. Billings also had four digs, along with Napper, while Schwarzwalder notched three block assists.

    Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 13-14. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Seattle, Wash., from the Lexington Region. This marks the second time in three seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event.

    Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky volleyball team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info on the volleyball team like Kentucky Volleyball on Facebook or follow the team on Twitter at @KentuckyVB.





    Razorbacks Erase Deficit, Beat Auburn In Four

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Down a set and facing an 8-0 deficit in the game two, the University of Arkansas volleyball team rallied to beat Auburn in four sets (21-25, 29-27, 25-12, 25-16) Sunday afternoon at Barnhill Arena. With the win, the Razorbacks improve to 11-5 on the season and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference play. After a tough start, the Arkansas offense registered a .522 hitting percentage over the final two sets of Sunday’s match.

    “Today was a very gutsy performance from our players,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “We didn’t start the match playing very well and the first halves of the first two sets weren’t very good. We were flat but we worked hard in the second half of those first two sets. The first one didn’t come our way but the second one did. From there, we got things moving and I’m proud of our players for finding a way on a tough day.”

    Senior libero Emily Helm continued her strong weekend behind the Arkansas block with a match-high 20 digs against the Tigers. The Queen Creek, Ariz., native totaled 52 digs over the past two matches and averaged 5.08 digs per set during the Razorbacks’ three matches this week. At the net, Arkansas had three players with at least three blocks and totaled 13.0 team blocks in the match.

    After a first-set rally fell short, the Razorbacks were forced into comeback mode to start game two when Auburn (9-7, 0-4 SEC) won the first eight points of the second frame. Arkansas eventually pulled even at 17-all after a kill from junior Meredith Hays but the Tigers re-established control and had four set points at 24-20. The home team responded with a five-point run to arrive at its first set point. On the team’s fourth opportunity to even the match, Hays found the floor to give her team a 29-27 set win.

    After a 25-12 win in set three, Arkansas mirrored its quick start to set four, jumping out to a 10-3 lead after consecutive blocks. Auburn never got closer than four points and after a service error gave the Razorbacks match point, Hays clinched the match win with a kill. She and freshman Breana Jones led the team with 16 and 12 kills, respectively.

    The Razorbacks return to action next weekend, beginning with a Friday match against Alabama at Barnhill Arena. First serve of the contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. (CT) in Fayetteville. Arkansas will then travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on the Lady Vols in a match that will be televised by SportSouth and Fox Sports.

    For more information on Arkansas volleyball, follow @RazorbackVB on Twitter.





    No. 3 Gator Volleyball Sweeps Crimson Tide to Stay Unbeaten in SEC Play

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Behind a stunning offensive display from senior middle blocker Chloe Mann, the No. 3 Florida volleyball team earned its 12th sweep of 2013 in a 3-0 victory over Alabama (25-21, 25-16, 25-18). The Gators hit .529 against the Crimson Tide, the third-highest hitting percentage for a single match in program history.

    Mann hit .737 on the afternoon with 14 errorless kills on 19 attempts. Two Gator sophomores also churned out double-digit kills Sunday, as sophomore middle blocker Simone Antwi and sophomore outside hitter Gabby Mallette tallied 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Antwi hit .588 against Alabama while Mallette hit .600 against the Crimson Tide.

    Quick Hits:

    * Freshman Alex Holston turned in her ninth match of the season hitting at .400 and above. The Gator rookie hit .727 with eight kills on 11 swings.

    * The Gators notched 22 kills in the first set Sunday, the most in a single set since Dec. 9, 2011 (vs. Michigan - NCAA Sweet 16).

    * Senior setter Taylor Brauneis dished out 41 assists and set Florida to a .529 hitting percentage, the 13th time the Gators have hit above .300 in 2013.

    * Florida hit .588 in the first set, as four Gator hitters were operating at .600 or above. Mallette hit 1.000 (4-0-4), Holston hit .857 (6-0-7), Mann hit .714 (5-0-7) and Antwi hit .600 (4-1-5).

    * The Gators charged back in the second set after Alabama jumped out to a five-point lead, tying the set at 12-12 with an ace from Holly Pole.

    * Florida moves to a 38-0 record over Alabama, including 36-0 under Mary Wise.

    Chloe's a "Mann"ster: Senior middle blocker Chloe Mann is hitting .472 for her career and is the Florida career record holder in the category. The reigning SEC Player of the Year is the NCAA active leader in hitting percentage and sits just above the NCAA record holder in career hitting percentage, Penn State's Arielle Wilson (.468). Mann needs 231 more attempts to be eligible for the NCAA record (approx. 17 attacks/reg. season match).

    Not On Our Watch: Florida has forced 12 of its 16 opponents to operate at under .200 hitting efficiency, including three offensive outputs at .000 and below. The Gators held the Aggies to .172 offensive clip Friday night, including a -.107 in the first set. Florida then held Alabama to .155 Sunday, including -.040 in the second stanza.

    SEC Sweeps: The Gators have not dropped a set in Southeastern Conference play in 2013.

    NCAA Numbers: Senior Chloe Mann is second in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.527), while the Gators are second in the nation with a .349 offensive clip. Senior setter Taylor Brauneis is 12th in assists (11.62/set) and 14th in aces (.44/set).

    Mary's Minute: "3-0 sweeps in Foster Auditorium are not going to come easy for the next several years because of the talented freshmen and recruiting classes this staff is bringing in. It took a near-record-breaking performance for us to win 3-0 today."

    Records: Florida: 15-1 (4-0 SEC), Alabama: 13-4 (1-2 SEC)

    Up Next: Florida hosts its first full SEC home weekend as the Gators welcome No. 19 Kentucky and longtime SEC foe Georgia to the O'Connell Center. The Gators and the Wildcats face off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports Florida Friday, October 11. The matchup between the Gators and the Bulldogs airs live at 2 p.m. ET on CSS/CST.





    Gamecocks Knock Off Texas A&M in Four Sets

    COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina volleyball team put together its most complete performance of the season on Sunday to defeat Texas A&M in four sets by the scores of 25-23, 25-20, 20-25 and 25-23 in front of a raucous crowd of 1,430 at the Volleyball Competition Facility.

    The win is the Gamecocks' (10-6, 2-2) first ever over the Aggies (9-5, 1-2), who held a 4-0 series lead coming into the matchup. Sunday's crowd also ranks as the fourth largest in VCF history, surpassing Friday's mark of 1,405.

    After his team suffered a heartbreaking five-set loss to Arkansas on Friday, South Carolina head coach Scott Swanson couldn't have been more proud of how his team bounced back on Sunday.

    "It was a signature win for us," Swanson said. "Our young team battled and scrapped and played defense and blocked. We did a lot of things really well today. We had a huge home crowd on our side making some great noise. It was just an awesome environment. It is a huge confidence builder for our kids and the program."

    Texas A&M finished the match with an edge in hitting percentage (.315-.312), but the Gamecocks held the advantage in kills with 71 to the Aggies 59. Senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin led the way with 23 kills and recorded 11 digs for her third consecutive double-double and fifth of the season. Sophomore middle blocker Darian Dozier added a career-best 18 kills while hitting .571 and led the team with six block assists. Sophomore Sarah Blomgren chipped in 10 kills and two block assists, while freshman middle Jacqy Angermiller contributed eight kills and two blocks. Sophomore setter Kellie McNeil came up just shy of a double-double, finishing with 53 assists, nine digs, six kills and three block assists.

    South Carolina's back line came up huge on Sunday as it finished with a 64-56 advantage in digs. Freshman libero/defensive specialist Gabrielle Rubeis led the way with a match-high 19 digs. Junior Michaela Christiansen added 13 digs, and freshman Megan Kirkland contributed eight digs.

    "All of our defensive specialists and liberos were unbelievable," Swanson said. "They passed well and served tough and dug some great balls. They kept us in rallies. To win that match we had about five or six extra opportunities to swing because of our defense giving our hitters more balls. It was a great performance by them, and give credit to our blockers for funneling the balls to them."

    Senior setter Allie Sawatzky recorded her fourth triple double of the season to lead the Aggies, finishing with 10 kills, 40 assists and 10 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan posted a team-high 13 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak and freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers added 11 and 10 kills, respectively.

    The Gamecocks got the crowd into the match early in the first set as they jumped out to an 8-3 lead behind a pair of blocks, with one by Dozier and McNeil and the other by Dozier and Blomgren. Texas A&M made it interesting, pulling to within one point on six occasions, but South Carolina wouldn't break. After the Aggies cut its deficit to 24-23 on a Sullivan kill, Dozier delivered a kill off a McNeil set to give the Gamecocks a 25-23 win. South Carolina hit .333 for the set. Thévenin led the way with seven kills, while Dozier had five on five attempts.

    South Carolina never trailed in the second set as it out-hit the Aggies .438-.355 behind seven kills from Dozier. After Texas A&M tied the match up at 12-12 on a Babers kill, Dozier answered with a kill to give the Gamecocks the lead for good, as South Carolina outscored the visitors 13-8 down the stretch.

    The Aggies avoided the sweep with their best effort of the afternoon in the third set, hitting .412 for the game. The teams played to an 8-8 tie early on before a Gamecock service error gave Texas A&M the lead for good. The Aggies pushed their lead to as many as five points, and South Carolina was unable to pull closer than two the rest of the way.

    The match seemed to be headed for a fifth set, as Texas A&M built a 14-10 lead in the fourth set. However, the Gamecocks roared back to take the lead with a 6-0 run capped by back-to-back kills by Blomgren. The teams then played through five ties and two lead changes before a Thévenin kill gave South Carolina the lead for good at 23-22 on its way to a 25-23 victory to win the match.

    South Carolina returns to action next weekend with a pair of home SEC matches. The Gamecocks will face Georgia on Friday at 7 p.m. and Kentucky on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the VCF.