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"Historic" season for UGA Volleyball ends with loss to one-seed Texas

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

UGA Volleyball’s NCAA tournament run came to an end on Friday, when the team fell 3-0 to volleyball giant Texas.

UGA ends the year 23-8, in a season that saw the team finish third in the SEC and record its first NCAA tournament victory since 1995.

Head coach Tom Black told reporters after the match that the team exceeded expectations.

"Nobody expected us to do anything this year," Black said. "And these girls fought and, I think, surpassed everybody's expectations.

UGA was predicted to finish ninth in the SEC this year. Instead, they finished third, earning Black the SEC Coach of the Year title and seeing two players pick up all-SEC honors.

Despite a disappointing end to the season, senior outside hitter Kacie Evans pointed to this year as one of the best in program history, and a sign that the team has turned a corner after struggling during the pandemic season and last year.

"This is going to go down as one of the most historic seasons we've ever had," she said. "You know, winning our first NCAA tournament round in 27 years. That says a lot about our growth."

Evans says she’ll be back for a final season next year.

Georgia was one of seven SEC teams – the most of any conference - to make the NCAA tournament. By the end of the second round of play, only Florida and Kentucky advanced to the third round.

Black says look for the SEC to continue to be a powerhouse conference in a sport traditionally dominated by teams from the west coast and Midwest.

"It's obviously one of the top conferences in the country or seven teams wouldn't get in," he said. "It's been night and day from when I came in. It's not the same conference at all.

Black says he expects conference play in the SEC will get tougher as well when Texas and Oklahoma join the conference in a few years.

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.