WINSTON-SALEM, NC — Despite 20 kills from middle blocker Teryl Townsend and 24 digs from Amanda Hess, the Georgia Tech volleyball team (24-7) fell in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on Saturday afternoon, November 18 to Duke (21-11) in five games, 9-15, 15-5, 12-15, 15-13, 8-15.
The Blue Devils claimed one on solid defense and strong serving which kept the Jackets out of their offensive rhythm. Duke jumped out to a 4-0 lead on two kills from Ashley Harris and a bad pass from Kyleen Bell. Tech climbed back to within 3-4 on kills from Teryl Townsend and Bell and a Blue Devil hitting error. With the score 4-6, the Blue Devils score three straight times on two ball handling errors from Eveland and a hitting error from Hess making the score 4-9. The Jackets chipped away at the lead to climb back into game one, 9-11, but it was not enough as the Blue Devils claimed the final four points to win game two, 15-9 on two hitting errors from Eida Mabry, an error by Townsend and a kill from Harris.
Tech bounced back and played much better in game two, taking a 7-5 lead and never looking back. Improved passing and serving aided the Jackets as Tech recorded three service aces, and never allowed the Blue Devils to run their offense. With the score 7-5, Tech earned points on an ace from Townsend, two Duke hitting errors, a kill from Bell, and a stuff block by Bell and Eveland making the score 12-5. Duke sided out, but Tech immediately came back with a sideout of its own, and then scored three more points to claim game two, 15-5 on a stuff block from Maja Pachale and Bell, followed by kills from Bell and Mabry.
Game three was a battle, with neither team holding more than a three point lead and each team sided out back and forth numerous times. The Jackets looked like they would take the game as it led 8-5, but Duke scored six straight points to take the lead 11-8 on an error from Pachale, and four kills by the Blue Devils. Tech came right back with three points on a kill from Mabry, an ace from Geeske Banck and a hitting error from Jill Sonne to tie the game at 11 a piece. With the score tied at 11, the two teams sidedout six times before the Jackets broke the tie on a kill from Townsend to take the lead, 12-11. Duke came back to sideout and then scored four straight points on errors from Bell and Pachale, a ball handling error on Eveland, and a bad pass to win game three, 15-12.
The Jackets jumped out to a 4-1 lead in game four behind kills from Hess and Townsend, and two Duke errors. But, the Blue Devils came right back and scored four straight points on four straight Jacket errors to regain the lead, 5-4. Duke led, 9-7, before the Jackets climbed back into the game on a kill from Mabry and a ball handling error on Pam Gottfred to make the score 9-9. A kill from Bell and errors from Sonne and Burrell gave Tech the lead, 13-11. But, the Blue Devils came right back and scored on an overpass from Banck and a kill from Burrell to tie the score at 13-13. With Mabry serving, Tech scored on a solo block from Banck and a block from Townsend and Eveland.
With the score 4-4 in game five, the Blue Devils took over the game scoring three straight points to lead 7-4 on two Duke kills and an error from Townsend. Townsend came right back with a kill to make the score 5-7, but then Duke sided out and scored four more points to increase its lead to 11-5. Tech was never able to get back in the match and several unforced errors allowed Duke to win game five and the match, 15-8.
The Yellow Jackets return to action when they face in-state rival Georgia in Athens on Friday at 7 p.m.