Nov. 4, 2007
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Talisa Kellogg and Chrissy DeMichelis combined for 43 kills and Michelle Kandell notched a career-high 32 digs to lead Georgia Tech (17-9, 11-5 ACC) to a 3-2 (15-30, 30-27, 26-30, 30-22, 15-6) victory over Virginia (15-10, 10-6 ACC) Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gym.
With the win, the Yellow Jackets moved into sole possession of third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, behind co-ACC leaders Clemson and Duke. Virginia, which was tied with Tech entering the match, fell to fourth.
“I’m so proud of how our team regained their composure and focused on the game plan after coming out so flat in game one,” head coach Bond Shymansky said. “We knew this was a must-win, like all of our matches are for the rest of the season, and we’re happy to come away with the victory.”
Leading by two points in the final game, Georgia Tech scored eight unanswered points with Lindsey Gray serving, four of which came off kills from Kellogg, to take a 13-3 lead before cruising to the 15-6 game five victory.
“Our left side hitters proved to be unstoppable at the end of the match, but it was the spectacular defensive plays of Michelle Kandell that provided the grit for us to compete even when things were tough,” Shymansky added.
Kandell became just the fifth player in school history to notch 500 digs in a season, as her 32-dig performance pushed her 2007 total to 504, which stands fourth in Tech’s single-season record books. She is just 18 digs shy of tying the record, which was set by Marisa Aston in 2004.
Kellogg hit .309 and led Tech with 22 kills against the Cavaliers while DeMichelis notched 21 kills in addition to three total blocks on the afternoon.
Erin Birmingham, who earned her fourth start of the season against Virginia, led Tech with five total blocks while recording four kills. Nikki Kaminskas led Tech’s middles with five kills on the afternoon, while Callie Miller hit .500 with four kills on six attempts.
Gray joined Kandell in double figures on the back row, posting 15 digs against the Cavs, while setter Allie Niekamp had 62 assists and eight digs on the afternoon.
Virginia won 14 of the first 20 points of the match before cruising to a 30-15 win behind the strong hitting of Sarah Kirkwood, who led the Cavaliers seven kills and a .500 hitting clip. Virginia, as a team, hit .447 in the first game while the Jackets managed just .027.
Tech evened the match with a 30-27 win in game two. The Jackets used an early 5-0 run to take a 7-3 lead and held on for the three-point win with five kills by DeMichelis and four more from both Ulrike Stegemann and Kellogg.
Trailing 24-23 in game three, Virginia rattled off five unanswered points to take a four-point lead and held on for the 30-26 win. The Cavaliers hit just .211 in the game, but held Georgia Tech to a .100 hitting clip.
Tech had three separate runs of four unanswered points in the fourth game, including closing the frame with a block by Miller, an attacking error by the `Hoos, and a pair of kills by Kellogg to win, 30-22, and tie the match at 2-2. The Jackets hit .325 with 18 kills and just five errors on 40 attempts in the game, while Virginia hit .238 with 15 kills and five errors on 42 attempts.
Georgia Tech will return to Atlanta to face Duke and Wake Forest in the coming week. The Jackets and Blue Devils will square off Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Tech’s annual Jam the Gym match, and the Jacket will meet the Demon Deacons Friday at 8 p.m. Both matches can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org) and followed on RamblinWreck.com.