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Georgia Tech Sweeps GT Invitational, Downs KSU in Dramatic Match

Sept. 9, 2017

Box Score 

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech volleyball (5-5) used three double-digit hitters and career nights from two freshmen to topple Kansas State (4-5), 25-19, 16-25, 25-21, 21-25, 16-14 and sweep its hosted Georgia Tech Invitational on Friday night in O’Keefe Gymnasium.

Gabriela Stavnetchei led with a team-high 16 kills, while Ashley Askin and Cori Clifton finished right behind her with 13. The mark for freshman Clifton is a new career-high – previously had eight against Furman.

Freshman Grace Rigsbee also had a career effort, finishing with eight kills while freshman Nicole Alford marked a new career-best with 29 assists.

For her efforts, Sydney Wilson was named the Georgia Tech Invitational MVP. Stavnetchei’s three games earned her a spot on the all-tournament team as well.

Head coach Michelle Collier says:
“We’re growing as a team, you can see with the freshmen on the court, they’re getting more and more comfortable within their positions and carrying a heavy load. Both Grace [Rigsbee] and Cori [Clifton] had tremendous tournaments. Sam Knapp did a really good job as well. And then our seniors are carrying a load too and they’re staying composed.

“Last weekend, we weren’t in a mindset where we could fight back and take those matches and just challenge teams with our serve. I think mentally we were definitely stronger in our home court. It was great to see that growth and the goal is to take that mentality anywhere that we go play. Every time they step on the court, they’re getting better.

“We’re not really letting the results dictate how we’re moving forward so it’s good to see it from our first home weekend to this one how much improvement we have had.

“We’ve played some tough matches on the road already and we’re going to play at UGA – another tough environment. They’re playing really good volleyball right now and have some good momentum so they’re going to be a very challenging team. Hopefully, we’ll take what we learned going to play in California and take what we learned playing here at home and then we’ll combine it and be an even better team when we face them on Friday.”

How it happened:
Throughout the nearly two-and-a-half hour affair, a balanced assault from the hitters made for an extremely tough to guard attack, allowing the Georgia Tech to pick its spots and execute.

The Yellow Jackets started off by controlling the entire opening set, only allowing one tie in the 25-19 win. Three kills from Kodie Comby, Stavnetchei, Rigsbee and Clifton fueled the offensive end while the Wildcats totaled three service errors and four attacking errors to keep themselves out of range.

Kansas State responded with force in the second, however, tying up the match at 1-1 off a 25-16 win.

The third set featured more nail-biting action as Tech tried to keep KSU at an arm’s length. The resolve of the Yellow Jackets paid dividends in the end, allowing them to outlast the Wildcats despite just a 21-19 toward the end.

The Wildcats would sneak away with the fourth set, trailing 17-14 at one point before rattling off a 10-1 run to go up 24-18. The White and Gold wouldn’t relinquish the set easily, though, pulling off a late 3-0 run of their own before falling.

In the fifth and deciding set, Georgia Tech came out and smelled blood in the water. From the get-go, a 5-1 lead, the Yellow Jackets attacked and attacked hard with multiple kills coming from Comby, Stavnetchei and Wilson. The Wildcats battled close to make things interesting, tying things up at 14 apiece, but Tech weathered the attack yet again, rattling off back-to-back kills by Askin and Wilson to get the win.

Up next:
The Yellow Jackets will now take the weekend off before heading up the road to face longtime rival Georgia in Athens on Sept. 15. First serve is set for 7 p.m.

Quick Hits:

  • Freshman Cori Clifton set a new career high with 13 kills;
  • Freshman Grace Rigsbee tallied a career-best eight kills;
  • Freshman Nicole Alford finished with a career-high 29 assists;
  • The right-side hitters for the Yellow Jackets (Kodie Comby, Sydney Wilson, Rigsbee and Clifton), finished with 38 kills and only four errors to amass an impressive .557 attack percentage;
  • The Yellow Jackets finished with multiple individuals with double-digit kill numbers for the third time this season (Gabriela Stavnetchei – 16, Ashley Askin – 13; Cori Clifton – 13);
  • For the fifth time this season, Tech finished with two players with double-digit assists (Nicole Alford – 29, Gabby Benda – 20);
  • Tech improves to 5-2 in O’Keefe Gymnasium

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