Oct. 25, 2010
By Jon Cooper
For one night, O’Keefe Gymnasium will take on a new name — think something along the lines of Slamma Lotta Byya or Dig Setta Spika.
It’s Greek Night as Georgia Tech Volleyball (14-8, 7-4) takes the floor against Sun Belt Conference leading Middle Tennessee State University (20-5, 11-1). The match begins at 6:30.
“It’s going to be loud in here and I’m going to absolutely love it,” said Head Coach Tonya Johnson.
The players are as amped up in their anticipation of, if not a larger — certainly a louder — crowd than usually packs O’Keefe.
“It’s exciting,” said senior Libero Jordan McCullers. “We obviously have a great fan base here but having the Greek life being involved is huge. They are just a crazy, fun, animated, in-your-face group of people. You see them all over campus, at football games. You know who is part of the Greek society. Having a connection with them [tonight] will to be awesome. They’re going to bring a lot of fire to this gym. We’re excited about feeding off of that.”
Energy isn’t all that comes to mind when it comes to Greek Night.
“Boys,” said senior setter Mary Ashley Tippins, breaking into a big laugh. “It’s exciting. I’m glad we’re trying to get the campus involved with athletics. I’ve gotten to know a lot of guys in fraternities and I have a lot of close friends in sororities. I know they’re going to try to come out.”
The fan involvement will be welcome, as Tech looks to get back to their winning ways following Saturday’s 3-0 loss, which broke a seven-match winning streak. Even though it’s a non-conference match, there is still plenty to be gained by a good showing.
“We just need to wash off Saturday’s game, learn from the mistakes that we made,” said McCullers. “[Tonight is] a great opportunity to be able to work through some those issues that we saw on Saturday night. It’s a really important match but it’s not a conference match so it allows us to tweak some things and play without as much being on the line. I’m really excited that we have a match to bounce back and get us ready for this weekend and tweak all those issues before we face Duke and Wake Forest.”
This weekend’s opportunity to avenge home losses to the Blue Devils and Demon Deacons from earlier in the season will have to wait, however, as the first order of business is to get revenge for a loss to the Blue Raiders last season in Murfreesboro.
“We played them at their place last year and they beat us in four,” remembered Johnson. “We’ve just got to get our focus back. Middle Tennessee State is good, they’re fast, they’re athletic, they’re probably one of the most dynamic teams we’re going to see this year. We’ve got to be able to bounce back and play good volleyball.”
“They came at us. They have a fast offense and kind of caught us off-guard,” added Tippins. “We were at their home now it’s our turn for them to come here. Hopefully we’ll have a good turnout and show them what Georgia Tech Volleyball is all about.”