Aug. 24, 2006
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech volleyball team has much to make up for after last season’s 16-15 overall record. The Yellow Jackets missed the postseason for the first time in five consecutive seasons and was not in contention for an Atlantic Coast Conference title for the first time since the 1999 season.
“Certainly there is no substitute for experience,” said Tech coach Bond Shymansky, who enters his fifth season at the helm. “They have been tried and tested.”
The first test the Jackets face is being able to stay healthy, which has not been a problem yet.
“We have had some nice surprises this year so far in practice,” said Shymansky. “The first is that we are basically healthy. If we are able to stay healthy all season we will be a scary team to compete against.”
Another surprise for coach Shymansky and the Yellow Jackets has been the stellar play of junior outside hitter Lindsey Gray. The 6 foot, Lenexa, Kansas, native, enters the upcoming season averaging 0.88 kills per game.
“As a junior she has honed her skills and is really taking over in front row and back row play,” said Shymansky.
Preseason All-ACC selections Ulrike Stegemann and Talisa Kellogg are also looking to continue their dominant play. Stegemann, a junior from Schwerin, Germany, earned second team All-ACC honors a season ago. Kellogg, a sophomore from Westerville, Ohio, led the Jackets with 457 kills en route to being named to the ACC All-Freshman squad.
“Our other returning starters have shown improvement and have matured in their knowledge of the game,” said Shymansky. “I expect us to have more balance this year, while still getting significant contribution from Kellogg, Stegemann and [Callie] Miller. Abby Showers has been a catalyst for our team as our Libero. Her commitment to keep the ball off the floor at any cost is inspiring for her teammates. She has shown that she can be a stabilizer, and make the big plays when we need them most.”
By the looks of the preseason thus far, and the talent coming back from last year’s team, there is little doubt that this season the Jackets will be hearing a whole lot more of `Point Tech!’
“We know we will be in contention for another ACC title and expect to win a whole lot of matches this fall,” said Shymansky. “Our loyal fans are going to like what they see this year!”
The Jackets will open up the season as host of the Regency Suites Midtown Invitational, Sept. 1-2, in O’Keefe Gym. Tech will take on Mississippi State at 12:30 p.m. and archrival Georgia at 6 p.m. on Friday, and Georgia State (9:30 a.m.) and Northern Iowa (3:30 p.m.) on Saturday. For a complete list of scheduled games, please go to Tournament Central.