Athens, Ga. – Despite leading in all three sets, Furman could not hold off SEC-power Georgia on Saturday, as the Bulldogs downed the Paladins 3-0 (25-20, 29-31, 18-25) inside Stegeman Coliseum. The win moves the Bulldogs to 2-0 on the year, while the loss drops the Paladins to 0-2.
Freshman Madison Gresham led the Paladins with 11 kills, a .310 hitting percentage and four blocks, while also adding eight digs in her first start of the season. Meg DeMaar led all players with 22 digs on the day, while adding an ace and six assists. Jamila Johnson was the only other Paladin with double-digit digs with 11, while Courtney Hoffman added three blocks, five kills and an ace.
Georgia was led by Majesti Bass with 12 kills and four blocks, while Rachel Ritchie put down 11 and added nine digs.
The teams traded points early in the set before Georgia reeled off a 6-0 run to take a 14-9 lead. The Paladins used a Carris Campbell block to cut the lead to two at 19-17, but the Bulldogs used back-to-back points to push the lead back to four at 21-17 and force a Furman timeout. Furman pulled to within three out of the timeout, but couldn't cut into the lead, as Georgia held on to take set one, 25-20.
Furman jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the second set and held on to a two-point advantage until Georgia tied the set at 11. The Paladins pushed the lead back to two at 13-11, but the Bulldogs again rallied to tie the set at 15. With Furman holding a 16-15 lead, Georgia strung together three-straight points to take an 18-16 lead and force the Paladins to call a timeout. Furman used back-to-back points to tie the set at 18, and the teams traded points until Georgia called a timeout with the set tied at 23. The two teams continued to trade points and trade set points until Georgia staved off a Furman set point at 28-27 and used a 4-1 run to close out the marathon set and take it 31-29, for a 2-0 match lead.
Georgia and Furman played a tight third set until, with the Paladins holding a 13-12 edge, Georgia used an 8-1 run to take a 20-14 lead. Furman cut the lead to four at 20-16, but Georgia continued to hold the momentum, pushing the advantage to 23-16, before a missed serve cut the lead to 23-17. The Paladins cut the lead to 23-18, but Georgia used back-to-back points to take set three, 25-18, and the match, 3-0.
Furman is back in action this evening, taking on Coastal Carolina at 5:30 p.m. in the final game of the Benson Hospitality Invitational.