Sept. 7, 2008
ATLANTA – Tournament MVP Lexi Zimmerman notched 51 assists, 17 digs, six kills and four block assists to help No. 25 Michigan (6-0) avoid its first loss of the season, surviving a 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 25-27, 25-20, 15-13) scare by Georgia Tech (5-1) to capture the tournament title at the 2008 Regency Suites Classic at O’Keefe Gym.
The Yellow Jackets had four players reach double-figures in kills and two more notch at least 10 digs while Allie Niekamp ran the offense with 47 assists on the day. Talisa Kellogg posted a team-best 14 kills while Callie Miller, Alison Campbell and Brittany Roderick all added 11 on the afternoon.
Roderick hit .350 against the Wolverines, and middle hitter Asia Stawicka pounded out eight kills while committing just one error on 11 attempts for a .636 hitting percentage. The freshman also led the Yellow Jackets with eight block assists on the day, while Miller added seven total blocks against the Wolverines.
The Yellow Jackets had a season-high 18 total blocks on the day, more than Tech posted in any match a year ago and the most since the Yellow Jackets notched 18 at North Carolina in 2006.
Tech opened the match by hitting .357 and posting six total blocks in the first set before squeaking out the 25-23 win. The Jackets held Michigan’s offense to just a .105 hitting percentage while the Wolverines managed only one block in the first set.
Michigan held off a late Yellow Jacket comeback in the second set to tie the match at 1-1. The Wolverines led 21-15, but a 4-0 run by Tech pulled the Jackets to within two points of Michigan. The visitors eventually took a 24-20 lead and held off Tech’s rally at 24-23 when Megan Bower ended the set with a kill from the right side.
The two teams combined for 10 tie scores and three lead changes in the third set before Tech picked up a 27-25 win behind the play of Campbell and Kellogg down the stretch. The two Yellow Jackets combined six of the Yellow Jackets’ last eight points in the frame before a kill by Stawicka and a service ace from Kandell finished off the Wolverines.
Michigan mounted its comeback in the fourth set and despite three tie scores, never relinquished the lead to the Jackets through the rest of the match. The Wolverines held Tech to a .188 hitting percentage and managed to side out on 14 of 20 occasions in the fourth set before holding Tech to a -.118 hitting percentage in the final frame for the win.
The Yellow Jackets will head out of the state for the first time this season when it travels to the Magnolia Invitational at Ole Miss next weekend. The Jackets will face SMU (11 a.m.) and Mississippi (8 p.m.) Friday before wrapping up the tournament against Eastern Illinois at 11 a.m. Saturday.