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UGA Volleyball heads west for NCAA Tournament

 UGA outside hitter Kacie Evans
Tony Walsh / UGA Athletic Association
UGA outside hitter Kacie Evans

When UGA faces off against Towson in the NCAA tournament on Thursday, for head coach Tom Black, it will be the culmination of not just a season of hard work, but years of effort to right a program that was struggling when Black first came to Georgia in 2016.

"When I came here, the program had won one conference game in two years prior and we got to the tournament pretty quickly in three years," Black told reporters at a press conference this week. "And then COVID came and the wheels fell off."

Black calls the COVID season a “rebuild of a rebuild.” After a 2020 season that started late and stretched well into the spring, the team went 8 and 14 in a curtailed, conference-only schedule.

The next year saw Georgia improve slightly, going 12 and 17 for the season.

But this year, things got much better. The team won a program record 13 conference games and finished the season above .500 for the first time since their last NCAA tournament appearance in 2019.

This year, back in the NCAA tournament again, Black says Towson is going to be a challenge.

"They're pretty well-balanced on offense," Black said. "They have some other threats; they serve tough. So for us, it's another competitive, tough match."

All-SEC outside hitter Kacie Black, who was also part of Georgia 2019 tournament team, agreed.

"Towson is] a good team," she said. "In this round of 64, I'm looking at the bracket from yesterday and , I could say these are the top 64 teams of the country. So it's a blessing to be a part of that."

Evans isn’t the only Georgia player with tournament experience. Middle blocker Sophie Fischer, also an All-SEC pick this year, won a national championship in 2020 with Kentucky. The 6’5” junior transferred to Georgia this year.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.