GREENSBORO, N.C. – Junior outside hitter Bianca Bertolino and senior libero Paola Pimentel have been recognized by the Atlantic Coast Conference as offensive and defensive players of the week, respectively, the league office announced Monday.
This is the second ACC Defensive Player of the Week award for Pimentel, having earned the honor following the Week 2 (Sept. 4), and the first-career ACC Offensive Player of the Week nod for Bertolino. Tech has been recognized in five of the eight ACC weekly awards this season, with Bertolino becoming the fifth Jacket this season to win, joining Pimentel, Tamara Otene, Larissa Mendes and Heloise Soares. Georgia Tech now leads the ACC with five different award recipients this year.
The recognitions come after the No. 13-ranked Yellow Jackets defended home court with a pair of four-set victories over Duke and North Carolina over the weekend. The wins brought the team record to 17-3 (8-2 ACC) – tied for the best 20-match start to a season in the Michelle Collier era (also 2021). It is tied for the third-best record through 20 matches in program history (20-0 in 2003 and 18-2 in 1996).
Offensive Player of the Week: Bianca Bertolino
Bertolino headlined a potent offensive output this weekend, making 33 kills (4.13 kills/set) on .304 hitting with six service aces in Tech’s wins over Duke and North Carolina. On Friday night vs. Duke, Bertolino was at the service line for Tech’s match-clinching 5-0 scoring run, delivering an ace to make it 22-23, before notching a kill to earn match point, 24-23. The ace was her fourth of the match and 100th of her career. Against UNC, she made 20 kills on .459 hitting, her most efficient match of the season and highest hitting percentage since her freshman season.
Her six aces over the weekend brings her season numbers to 48 aces for an average of .63 aces/set. She leads the ACC in both categories, a full 12 aces over second place. Across Division I, Bertolino is 2nd in aces/set, behind only Indiana’s Camryn Haworth (.65 aces/set). She is two aces away from becoming just the fifth Jacket this century to reach 50 aces in a season and the first since Julia Bergmann’s modern scoring era record (64), set back in 2021.
Defensive Player of the Week: Paola Pimentel
Pimentel led the Georgia Tech defense all weekend, finishing with 46 digs across eight sets (5.75 digs/set). She secured 25 digs in Tech’s victory over Duke on Friday night. Her 6.25 digs/set average against Duke was the best of her career for a match lasting longer than three sets. She followed that with a 21-dig performance in Tech’s 3-1 win over UNC on Sunday.
Her efforts over the weekend brought her season average to 4.47 digs/set, the most in the ACC and the fifth most among Power 5 liberos. She has been the catalyst for Tech’s defense all season, a defense that is averaging an ACC-best 15.62 digs/set, the second-best team average among Power 5 programs.
Pimentel’s weekend brought her over the 300-dig mark for the season, currently owning 340. The Rio de Janeiro native becomes the first Tech player with three straight 300 dig seasons since the program’s all-time digs leader, London Ackermann (2013-16).
Georgia Tech heads back on the road for a pair of ACC matches at Boston College (Oct. 27) and Syracuse (Oct. 29). The trip offers an opportunity for the Jackets to record their ninth and 10th road victories this season. The White and Gold have only achieved double-digit road victories in six of its previous 42 seasons.
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