Aug. 25, 2012
THE FLATS – Seniors Bailey Hunter and Monique Mead led the Georgia Tech volleyball team past SMU in five sets (17-25, 25-17, 25-20, 24-26, 15-12) in the final game of the Courtyard Invitational Saturday night in front of 757 fans at O’Keefe Gym.
Hunter recorded her second double-double of the season with 19 kills and 10 digs, while Mead was just one block shy of a triple-double for the second time this season (20 kills, 10 digs, nine blocks). Junior Kaleigh Colson recorded a team-best 15 digs and 45 assists.
Hunter was named MVP of the tournament, while Nicki Meyer was named libero of the tournament. Hunter had 43 kills and 31 digs over the course of the tournament. Meyer had 34 digs in the tournament and averaged 2.83 digs per set. Mead was named to the all-tournament team as well.
Set one started with a big block by Annie Czarnecki and Mead, but SMU would come from behind later in the set to take the lead 15-12 and eventually the set, 25-17.Three serving errors and nine attacking errors kept the Yellow Jackets out of the set.
“We didn’t have any energy and communication on our side,” head coach Tonya Johnson said. “They [SMU] came out and controlled the set and I didn’t like our mentality on the floor. After the set we talked about coming out with some energy and celebrating out there.”
SMU kept up their momentum into set two with a kill by Maddie Lozano to open the game. Tech was down by one, 6-7, when Colson dumped the ball on the second touch to tie it up 7-7. Hunter put down a huge momentum-changing solo block to revitalize the Jacket offense. Tech went on to keep the lead throughout the rest of the set, going on a 16-9 run capped off by a five-point rally by Colson to win the game.
“It’s amazing that in rally scoring that big plays like Bailey’s can change the match,” Johnson said. “Rally scoring is one of those things where momentum is everything. That block turned the game around for us and got us going in set two.”
Mead led the squad in the third set with a .583 hitting percentage (9-for-12, two errors) and three blocks. The score was tied 10 times during the set and the lead changed four times. Tech came from behind 11-14 to take the lead and win the set.
SMU was able to capture the fourth set, 26-24, thanks to Caroline Young’s five kills and Lozano’s timely blocking to force a fifth set.
In the fifth and deciding set, the score was tied 3-3. Tech took a 9-5 and forced an SMU timeout. On match point and the score set at 14-12, Hunter put the game away on a cross court kill.
Georgia Tech returns to action Aug. 31 at the Indiana Invitational against Bowling Green State at 5 p.m. ET.
Courtyard Invitational All-Tournament Team:
Wynter Davis, Charleston Southern
Bre Moreland, Cal State Fullerton
Kayla Neto, Cal State Fullerton
Courtney Manning, SMU
Cailin Bula, SMU
Monique Mead, Georgia Tech
Libero – Nicki Meyer, Georgia Tech
MVP – Bailey Hunter, Georgia Tech