ATLANTA – After seeing its 12-match win streak come to a halt in a five-game loss to Virginia, the Georgia Tech (21-5, 11-2) volleyball team looks to rebound with three home conference matches scheduled for the week. Tuesday, November 7 the Jackets will host NC State (1-13, 8-19) at 7 p.m., followed by a match on Friday night, November 10 at 7 p.m. against Florida State (19-10, 7-7). On Saturday, November 11 the Tech will host its final home match of the season at 7 p.m. against North Carolina (22-6, 12-2).
“We are very disappointed in many ways that we lost to Virginia,” said head coach Shelton Collier. “Everyone of our starters played poorly in the Virginia match, and it’s very disappointing that at this point of the season we would have our entire starting unit play so poorly in a match that meant so much. But, as a result, we can bounce back and we can still claim the ACC regular season title with three victories this week.”
Against NC State, the Jackets won their previous meeting in four games, 14-16, 16-14, 15-11, 15-12, in Raleigh, N.C. In that match, Eida Mabry recorded 22 kills and a career-high eight blocks while Kyleen Bell tallied 20 kills and a season-high 10 blocks. For the Wolfpack, Charece Williams dominated the Jackets as she had 22 kills, 17 digs and five blocks.
“NC State’s key player is Williams, who has had some exceptional matches against some teams this season and is an exceptional athlete,” said Collier. “We are very concerned about stopping her as not too many teams have this year.”
“However, our offense is diversified with many players contributing whereas their offense is keyed on one player, so we should be able to slow her down if we focus our attention on her and have success in the match.”
On Friday night, Tech will host Florida State. The Jackets rallied from an 0-2 deficit to claim their earlier meeting in Tallahassee in five games, 9-15, 13-15, 15-6, 15-9, 15-10. In that match, Maja Pachale notched a season-high 29 kills and 12 digs, with Teryl Townsend chipping in 21 kills and six digs. The Seminoles were led by Norisha Campbell who had 18 kills followed by Jennifer Werrick who notched 14.
“In our earlier match, Florida State had us down 0-2, and it took an exceptional comeback for us to win that match,” said Collier. “We had to play at a very high level and it took a great effort for us to win that match in Tallahassee. The Seminoles are a team that can give us a number of problems as they have several players that are very talented, and I expect a very difficult and competitive match.”
Tech’s final home match of the season will be on Saturday night against North Carolina. The Tar Heels defeated the Jackets in their earlier meeting in Chapel Hill, NC, after Tech led two games to none. The match carries extra importance as both teams are tied in the conference standings with two losses.
“North Carolina has obviously gone through the league and beaten everybody, including us,” said Collier. “I think they will be a very tough opponent and it is very likely that our match will be for the regular season title. I think right now we are the two best teams in the conference, and our records prove that we are. It should be a great battle on Saturday night in the final match of the regular season.”
“Our loss to Virginia was tough to swallow,” said Collier. “But, we are hoping to regroup and focus our attention on winning three matches this week. If we win those three matches, we will be the ACC regular season champions and be the number one seed in the ACC tourney. We are certainly in control of our own destiny and that will be our focus this week.”