Volleyball rally falls short in Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. – After rallying to force a fifth set, Ole Miss ran out of breath in volleyball and she failed to complete the comeback on Saturday afternoon at the Stegeman Coliseum.

The Rebels (11-15, 7-9 SEC) held Georgia (20-7, 11-5 SEC) at a .153 batting average, the second-lowest mark at home this season, but it wasn’t enough. Three Rebel attackers achieved 10+ kills, led by Anna Bear With 17. Samantha Schnitta she finished at 14, marking her fifth straight match with at least 10 kills. Vivian Miller completed the trio with 12. Defensively, libero Cammy Niesen flew around the court, registering 24 digs and seven assists.

In a tie-five in the opening set, three straight kills by Schnitta underscored a 6-0 run to give Ole Miss an 11-5 advantage. The Rebels kept their foot on the gas, continuing a 9-2 run and extending the lead to 12. Georgia tried to make things interesting by stringing together a few runs, but Ole Miss ended it when Niesen beat the Dawgs with a 25-18 set win.

Georgia opened the second set with a 7-3 start, but the Rebs responded with a 6-2 run of their own to reach all nine, forcing the Bulldogs to call a time-out. Both teams continued to play closely until Georgia was separated again with a 3-0 mini run at 18:15. Ole Miss equalized again at 22, but Georgia took a timeout and the last three points of the set to level the match.

It was the Bulldogs who broke away early in set three. They used two runs to double the Rebels 8-16. Still, Ole Miss never gave up, battling back within one at 19-20 after Schnitta finished an 11-4 run with a massive swing to end a long rally. Once again, the Rebels couldn’t find the last boost they needed as Georgia won the third set 25-22.

Ole Miss was forced to call for an early timeout in the fourth set after falling behind out of goal at 1-5. Up to five behind, the Rebels continued to fight for points and scored in spurts to fight their way back into the match. They closed it out at 12, going on a critical 7-2 run and later taking the lead with three unanswered points. With an 18-16 lead from a time out in Georgia, Ole Miss never looked back. Miller was key on the stretch, coming alive late in the set with four kills and an ace to help the Rebels force a fifth set.

With the match on the line, Ole Miss fell back 2-5 to start the fifth set. Never panicking, the Rebels cut the lead to two when both teams changed benches midway through the set. They continued to fight their way back within one but ran out of strength as Georgia pulled away to win the match.

The Rebels finish the regular season at home to Florida on November 25-26.

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