THE FLATS – Two Yellow Jackets from the No. 5-seeded Georgia Tech volleyball team (24-6, 13-5 ACC) were awarded East Coast All-Region distinction, the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced Tuesday. Junior outside hitter Bianca Bertolino and senior outside hitter Tamara Otene were each named to the 1st Team East Coast All-Region team, marking the second career honors for both and Otene’s first as a Jacket.
This marks the fifth season in a row, since 2019, that Georgia Tech will have multiple representatives on AVCA all-region team, the longest streak in program history. It is the first time Bertolino has been named to the first team after earning honorable mention last season (2022). It is the first All-Region award for Otene since transferring into the program ahead of last season, she was named 1st Team All-North Region while at Illinois State, in 2021.
These All-Region distinctions allow for both Bertolino and Otene to advance to the final round of All-American consideration. As one of the 14 best players in the East Coast region, according to voting done by coaches in the region, Bertolino and Otene have qualified for the shortlist of players from which All-American teams will be selected from, next week. All-America teams (1st, 2nd, 3rd and honorable mention) will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 13.
Bertolino and Otene have been a considerable force for the Jackets all season, as each player has made over 300 kills and 300 digs. Bertolino (343 kills / 311 digs) and Otene (397 kills / 327 digs) are the first Yellow Jacket duo to achieve such numbers in the same season 2015 (Teegan Van Gunst and Annika (Rowland) Van Gunst).
Bianca Bertolino | Jr. | OH | San Guillermo-Santa Fe, Argentina
Bianca Bertolino has been the catalyst for Georgia Tech all season, positively affecting each point in a variety of ways. She is the only Power 5 pin hitter to finish the season with 300+ kills, 300+ digs and 60+ aces all while posting an incredible .974 receiving percentage as a primary passer in serve/receive. She was named ACC Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 23 and leads the ACC with 62 aces (.55/set). She finished the regular season leading all Power 5 pin-hitters in aces and 5th overall in Division I in aces/set. She made 7 aces in Georgia Tech’s four-set win over Louisville, the second most aces in a single match by a Power 5 player this season and the most in an ACC match since 2017. She becomes the 16th Yellow Jacket in program history and the fifth in the Michelle Collier era to earn multiple All-Region honors. So far in the NCAA Tournament, Bertolino has contributed 24 kills and 30 digs through two matches. Her 18 kill, 17 dig performance in Tech’s 2nd round win at Florida was her second double-double of her NCAA Tournament career, joining Mariana Brambilla as the only Jackets with multiple double-doubles in NCAA Tournament matches in the modern scoring era.
Tamara Otene | Sr. | OH | Auckland, New Zealand
One of the most versatile attackers in the country, Otene secured a 300 kill/300 dig season, registering a team-best 397 kills and 327 digs, the third most among Power 5 pin hitters and the most among ACC pins. Otene was the most prolific attacker on the roster, serving as the go-to for out of system sets, while also serving as the best defensive non-DS/L in the ACC. She was named ACC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 25 and became the 1st Jacket in program history to achieve back-to-back 20 kill/20 dig double doubles (at UVA and vs. FSU). Otene delivered a team-best 15 double-doubles, 10 of which came against AVCA Top 50 opponents. The Auckland native becomes the ninth All-Region award recipient in the Michelle Collier era and the 28th in program history. It’s her second All-Region award, following a 1st Team All North Region selection prior to transferring to The Flats. So far in the NCAA Tournament, Otene leads the Jackets with 36 kills (4.00/set). She is one of only three players in the Regional Rounds to be averaging 4.00 kills/set or better while playing nine or more sets. She was vital in Georgia Tech’s 2nd round victory at Florida, making a solo block to tie the fifth set, 14-14, before tallying her 20th kill of the match on the next point, giving Tech match point, 15-14, which Bertolino would capitalize on for Georgia Tech’s first true road win and first five-set win in NCAA Tournament history.
The Jackets will travel to Lincoln, Neb. to compete in the 2023 Lincoln Regional. Click here to read more about Tech’s Regional matchup. Georgia Tech will take on No. 1 overall seed Nebraska (30-1, 19-1 Big Ten) in the Round of 16 on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. inside the Bob Devaney Sports Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska. The match will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.
Competitive Drive Initiative Turn 2
Looking to build on the success of last year’s Competitive Drive Initiative, Georgia Tech, the Georgia Tech Foundation and Georgia Tech athletics are partnering once again to launch Competitive Drive Initiative Turn 2. CDI Turn 2 has a goal of raising $2.5 million in new gifts to the Alexander-Tharpe Fund’s Athletic Scholarship Fund by Dec. 31, and Georgia Tech and the Georgia Tech Foundation will match eligible gifts to accelerate the impact for Tech athletics. Like last year, not only will gifts to CDI Turn 2 be matched, but so will the contributor’s benefits in the way of A-T Fund giving levels and priority points. To learn more and contribute online, visit atfund.org/turn2.