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Jackets Drop Conference Opener to Tar Heels in Five Games

CHAPEL HILL, NC – Despite a career-high 27 kills from Kyleen Bell (Rocklin, Calif.) and 22 digs from Teryl Townsend, the Georgia Tech (9-4, 0-1) volleyball team dropped its conference opener to North Carolina (11-2, 1-0) in a 2:45 match in five games, 15-13, 15-9, 9-15, 3-15, 10-15 on Friday night in front of 1,044 fans.

The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a huge 9-2 lead in game one as Tech made the most of Tar Heel errors, two aces, and kills from Bell, Amanda Hess, and Maja Pachale. Carolina chipped away at the lead, and eventually took the lead 10-9 by steady sideouts and capitalizing on Tech hitting errors. Tech would catch the Tar Heels at 12, before Carolina scored on a kill from Nicole Reis to make it 13-12. The two teams would battle back and forth and sideout 12 times before the Jackets scored on a kill from Bell to make it 13-13. Behind the serving of Hess, Tech would score on a kill from Pachale and a Carolina error to capture game one, 15-13.

Game two saw Techs passing struggle, allowing the Tar Heels to take a 5-1 advantage. The teams would sideout a number of times before the Jackets mounted a comeback with Townsends strong serves and three straight blocks from Bell and Pachales amazing dig, to take the lead, 6-5. Carolina would take the lead, 9-6, scoring on errors from Eveland and an overpass from Pachale. Tech would sideout and then score seven straight points to make it 14-9 as the Jackets played amazing defense by recording three straight stuff blocks from Townsend and Ida Mabry, a kill from Townsend and a kill from Mabry. The Jackets scored the final point of the game on a North Carolina overpass, enabling Bell to tally a kill.

In game three, neither team could grasp a lead of more than four points, as both teams continued to sideout back and forth. Carolina held a 5-3 lead before Tech would score to make it 7-5 on two aces from Hess, a kill from Bell, and a Tar Heel error. Carolina came right back and scored six points to take the lead, 11-7, as the Jackets communication struggled, causing Tech to record four unforced errors. With the lead, the Tar Heels offense would begin to click as they scored on three kills to lead 14-9. The Jackets would mount a mini-run and score on a kill from Mabry, a block by Townsend and Mabry, and a kill from Geeske Banck to make the score 12-14. But, Carolina would come right back and score the final point on an error by Mabry.

Carolina controlled game four throughout as they scored strings of points on bad passing from Tech, and strong defense from the Tar Heels. Carolina led 6-3, before finally putting the game away as they scored nine straight points on Tech errors to win, 15-3.

The momentum the Tar Heels had in game four, carried over into game five as they won, 15-10. The Jackets were never in the game as their passing faltered, and the Carolina middle blockers controlled the net, both offensively and defensively.

Georgia Tech will face NC State (5-6) at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Reynolds Coliseum.

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