Jackets Hit the Road for Pair of Key ACC Matches in Virginia

Nov. 1, 2007

ATLANTA – Following a four-game loss at Clemson this past Tuesday, the Yellow Jackets hit the road for a pair of key Atlantic Coast Conference matches in the state of Virginia this weekend, squaring off against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Friday at 7 p.m. before meeting the Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville Sunday at 1 p.m. Tech (15-9, 9-5 ACC) currently stands in a tie for third with Virginia (14-9, 9-5 ACC), while Virginia Tech (12-12, 6-8 ACC) is in a tie for 6th in the league standings.

The Yellow Jackets have won four of their last five matches and are led by setter Allie Niekamp (10.93 Apg, 1.90 Dpg). Junior captain Talisa Kellogg is Tech’s top offensive threat (3.86 Kpg) while Chrissy DeMichelis (3.54 Kpg) and Ulrike Stegemann (2.97 Kpg, 1.96 Dpg) are both playing vital roles within the offense. Junior libero Michelle Kandell has been strong on the back row for Tech, averaging a team-best 4.73 digs per game, while Nikki Kaminskas (1.06 Bpg) leads Tech’s blocking efforts.

Georgia Tech has already played five matches against teams that competed in last year’s NCAA Tournament, as well as another that advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2005, and still has one remaining against a 2006 NCAA Tournament participant – vs. Duke next Thursday.

MATCH COVERAGE: Live online video coverage of Friday’s match will be available on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv). Live stats available at HokieSports.com (Friday) and VirginiaSports.com (Sunday).

UP NEXT: Tech returns to Atlanta to host Duke (Thursday, 7 p.m.) and Wake Forest (Friday, 8 p.m.) Friday’s match available on SportSouth and WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org). Live stats for both matches can be found on RamblinWreck.com.

Tech vs. the Opponents (GT leads VT, 5-3; GT leads UVa, 24-17)

The Hokies ended Tech’s 2006 season by handing them a 3-0 loss at O’Keefe Gym, but Tech won this year’s meeting, 3-1. The two teams have split the last four matches, but Tech holds an overall record of 5-3 against Virginia Tech. Two of the Jackets’ five wins have come in Blacksburg, including a 3-0 Georgia Tech win last season on Virginia Tech’s home court. The Jackets are 4-2 against the Hokies under head coach Bond Shymansky.

Georgia Tech is 24-17 all-time against Virginia, including holding a 9-3 record versus the Cavaliers since Bond Shymansky was promoted to head coach in 2002. Virginia was the only ACC school that swept the Yellow Jackets a year ago, and Tech is trying to avoid the same fate this year after the Cavaliers earned a comeback 3-2 win against the Jackets in Atlanta earlier this season. Virginia has now won three in a row, two of which came in five sets. The Cavaliers’ five-set victory in Charlottesville a year ago snapped an 11-match winning streak that the Jackets had against Virginia. Tech has posted a 9-10 record in Charlottesville, including a 4-1 mark under Shymansky.

The Tech Connection

In her third season as an assistant coach for the Virginia Tech volleyball team is former Yellow Jacket standout middle hitter and honorable mention All-America Jayme Gergen, who played on the Flats from 2001-04. In just her second season on the Flats, Gergen shattered the Yellow Jacket single-season marks with 157 block assists and 169 total blocks, records which still stand today. She finished her career ranked second in the Tech career record books with a .353 hitting percentage, fifth in total blocks (473) and block assists (426) and fourth with 1.19 blocks per game.

RPI Watch

According to the latest RPI report, which was published Oct. 12, the Yellow Jackets stand at No. 63 in the nation. The RPI report only includes the Yellow Jackets’ first 16 matches of the season. Since it was published, Tech has posted a 5-3 record.

Kellogg, Stegemann Pass 1,000

Talisa Kellogg reached the 1,000 plateau for kills in a career in the final match of the Regency Suites/Georgia Tech Classic, posting 20 kills against the Kentucky Wildcats. She has recorded 1,248 kills in her 2+ years on the Flats, and is three kills away from cracking the top-10 in the Georgia Tech career annals.

Ulrike Stegemann has also surpassed 1,000 kills in her career, notching number 1,000 with a 19-kill performance at North Carolina. The Yellow Jacket senior has notched 1,157 kills in her 3+ years at Georgia Tech.

Milestone Watch

Libero Michelle Kandell is currently averaging 2.74 digs per game in her career, which stands just 0.01 digs per game shy of cracking the top-10 in Tech history. Her average has been quickly rising due to the fact that she’s averaging 4.73 digs per game in 2007.

Freshman setter Mary Ashley Tippins is moving up the assists charts quickly in just her first year on the Flats. The Atlanta native has notched 576 assists through the first half of the season and needs just 186 more to rank in the top-10.

Milestone Watch II

Junior Michelle Kandell is well on her way to becoming the school’s single-season record holder for digs. With eight matches still remaining on the regular-season schedule, the California native already stands seventh in the single-season digs category with 445 in 2007, which is 77 shy of the record. She needs 27 digs to move into a tie for sixth place, and 41 to move into fifth.

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