Nov. 20, 2007
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech, winner of its last six matches and 10 of its last 11, hits the road for the final week of regular season play, facing Boston College Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Chestnut Hill before traveling to College Park for a 2 p.m. matchup with Maryland Friday. The Yellow Jackets (21-9, 15-5 ACC) currently stand third in the ACC behind league champion Clemson (19-1 ACC) and Duke (17-3), while Maryland (17-12, 9-11 ACC) is seventh and Boston College (14-16, 8-12 ACC) ranks eighth.
Match Coverage: Live stats for both matches will be available at RamblinWreck.com.
The Yellow Jackets’ offense is run by setter Allie Niekamp (11.77 Apg, 1.88 Dpg) and led by junior captain Talisa Kellogg (3.95 Kpg, 1.13 Dpg) while Chrissy DeMichelis (3.62 Kpg) and Ulrike Stegemann (3.07 Kpg, 1.97 Dpg) are both averaging at least three kills per game. Junior record-holder Michelle Kandell has been a game-saver on the back row, averaging a team-best 4.82 digs per game, while Nikki Kaminskas (1.07 Bpg) leads Tech’s blocking efforts.
Tech vs. the Opponents (GT leads BC, 5-2; MD leads GT, 24-21)
The Jackets hold a 5-2 edge over Boston College, but enter the week looking for their first win in Chestnut Hill. Both teams defend their home court well, as Tech has won all five matches in Atlanta and the Eagles have earned victories in both matches played on their home court. The Jackets are 3-2 against the Eagles under head coach Bond Shymansky, and enter the match with a two-match winning streak against BC. The Eagles have won both matches at Power Gym, 3-1, with the last coming on Oct. 8 last season.
Georgia Tech is 21-24 all-time against Maryland, but holds an 8-4 record against the Terrapins since the promotion of Bond Shymansky in 2002. Tech has struggled in matches played in College Park, posting just a 6-13 record against the Terrapins on their home court, and have lost the last two matches played at Comcast Center Pavilion. Georgia Tech is riding a two -match winning streak against Maryland headed into this weekend’s match, and has won five of the last seven.
Success for Tech Continues
With a victory at Virginia on Nov. 4, the Yellow Jackets guaranteed themselves an above-.500 finish for the 17th-consecutive year, dating back through the 1991 season. During that span, Tech has averaged more than 24.8 wins per season and just 9.8 losses.
The win at Virginia also guaranteed one more accomplishment for the Yellow Jackets: a .500 or above finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the eighth-consecutive season, which is the most successful run of any ACC team during that span. Virginia has finished .500 or above in the ACC in each of the past five seasons while Duke and Florida State have both had at least a .500 conference winning percentage every year since 2004.
According to the latest RPI report, which was published Nov. 16, the Yellow Jackets stand at No. 59 in the nation. The RPI report only includes the Yellow Jackets’ first 28 matches of the season. Since it was published, Tech has posted a 2-0 record, with wins over Miami and Florida State.
Is Tech’s Preparation Enough?
Georgia Tech stepped up its strength of schedule for the 2007 season in hopes of earning a bid to the 2007 NCAA Tournament and, along with the two matches remaining this week, are left to wait and see if it was enough. The Jackets enter this weekend with a 21-9 record including a 15-5 mark in conference matches. This season Tech has played matches against a top-10 team, two top-15 teams and another top-25 foe and has squared off six times against teams that competed in the 2006 NCAA Tournament and another vs. a 2005 NCAA Elite Eight team. The Jackets have played seven matches against teams that won at least 20 matches in 2006 and seven against schools that have already won at least 20 matches this season.
Bringing Out the Brooms
Tech has swept six of its nine ACC weekend series, including each of the last five, and has split the other three. The Jackets have lost back-to-back matches just once in 2007, and haven’t been swept in weekend ACC matches since the beginning of 2006 conference play.
Nobody knows. The question remains as to whether the ACC will receive more than one bid to the 2007 NCAA Tournament after earning only one a year ago. The brackets will be announced Sunday, Nov. 25 at 8 p.m., with the selection show being aired on ESPNU. First and second rounds will be between Nov. 29 and Dec. 2