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No. 11 Georgia Tech Fights Past Florida State

THE FLATS – The No. 11 Georgia Tech volleyball team rallied for a thrilling five-set victory on Friday night, coming back to defeat Florida State (21-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-18, 16-14) inside O’Keefe Gymnasium. A career night from Paola Pimentel alongside another 20/20 double-double from Tamara Otene vaulted the Yellow Jackets to victory in front of yet another sold out crowd.

Quick Hits

  • Georgia Tech has now won eight straight matches over the Seminoles, the longest winning streak in series history.
  • Tech leads the all-time series, 38-22, including an excellent 23-10 record inside O’Keefe.
  • This is the 21st consecutive sellout at O’Keefe Gymnasium dating back to the 2021 season.
  • Senior libero Paola Pimentel set a new career best with 29 digs, bringing her career total to 1,002. She becomes the 7th Yellow Jacket in the modern scoring era to achieve 1,000 career digs.
  • It was her seventh 20+ dig match of the season and the 11th of her career.
  • Pimentel has reached 1,000 digs while averaging 3.58 digs/set, the second highest career average in program history.
  • Senior outside hitter Tamara Otene maintained her incredible form, making 20 kills and 23 digs tonight. She is now averaging 21 kills and 19 digs over her last three matches.
  • This was her third consecutive double-double and second consecutive 20/20 match, the longest streak of her career.
  • She becomes the first Yellow Jacket to ever accomplish back-to-back 20/20 double-doubles and is just the fifth to ever achieve multiple such matches over a career.
  • The New Zealand native has now registered nine consecutive double-digit dig matches, continuing her career-best streak.
  • Otene owns 938 career kills, the most on the roster as she closes in on her 1,000th career kill.
  • Freshman opposite Larissa Mendes delivered a career-best 21 kills. She becomes the first Tech freshman to record 20+ kills in an ACC match since Julia Bergmann’s 24 kill performance at Pitt (Nov. 8, 2019).
  • The Brazilian has made 10+ kills in 13 of her first 17 collegiate matches.
  • Freshman setter Heloise Soaresset a career-high with 59 assists, the most assists by a Yellow Jacket freshman in the modern scoring era.
  • She is the first Jacket setter to reach the 50 assist mark this year.
  • Junior outside hitter Bianca Bertolino notched her 40th ace of the season in the second set. It’s the first time she has reached 40 aces in a single season as she becomes the first Jacket to reach the milestone since 2019 (Bergmann – 64). She finished the night with three aces, bringing her season total to 42 and her career mark to 96.
  • She finished with 21 kills and 13 digs for her sixth double-double of the year and second in as many matches.
  • Tech has won back-to-back five-set matches for the first time since 2019 (Nov. 1 – Nov. 3)

Set By Set

Set 1 (FSU, 25-21): FSU came out firing from the service line but a pair of early kills from Mendes, along with strong serving from Otene, helped the Jackets take an early 6-5 advantage. The Seminoles responded with a 7-0 run, taking a 8-14 lead. With the set dangerously close to slipping away, Soares executed a perfect no-look, backwards dump at the net to stop the run and send Bertolino to the service line, where the Jackets feasted, winning the next five points and drawing back within one, 13-14. Both sides traded points from there until the final points, when some untimely Tech errors allowed FSU to take the opening set by four points. Otene (five), Bertolino (four) and Mendes (three) combined for 12 of Tech’s 13 kills in the set as Pimentel led the back row with eight digs.

Set 2 (GT, 25-23): Mendes found another gear offensively in the second, smashing six early kills to help the Jackets get out to a 13-11 lead. Otene took over from there, delivering back-to-back kills and an ace to put Tech in front 17-13. The Jackets held FSU at bey for the remainder of the set, with Otene bringing O’Keefe to its feet with some devastating back row attacks. Bertonilo delivered the finishing blow to lock the match at one-set apiece. Mendes led all attackers with nine kills in the second set, bringing her match total to 12 kills on .500 hitting. Soares settled into the set nicely distributing 15 assists with Otene leading the charge on the back row, posting four digs.

Set 3 (FSU, 25-18): The Jackets got their middle blockers engaged early in the third with Boezi (two) and Peirce (two) combining for four of the first five kills of the set. The Seminoles were able to match that with some strong blocking, going on a 5-1 run to take a 4-9 advantage. Otene secured her career-best third double-double in as many matches with a dig that resulted in another kill from Mendes, but the Jackets couldn’t cut into the lead enough and would drop the set by seven points.

Set 4 (GT, 25-18): The Georgia Tech defense came to play in the fourth as Pimentel and Otene dug nearly every ball that came their way to help the Jackets overcome a 4-9 deficit to claw back and go on a 6-0 scoring run to flip a 13-16 score line into a 19-16 lead thanks to a great run of serve from Otene. With the sold-out crowd firmly behind them, the Jackets maintained momentum and would go on to win the set by seven points, winning 12 of the final 14 points along the way. Despite the rough start, GT delivered its most kills (21) on its highest efficiency (.432 hitting) while also putting up its most digs (25) of any set on the night. Bertolino headlined the offense with nine kills on .529 hitting

Set 5 (GT, 16-14): Bertolino set the tone at the service line, putting FSU out of system on her first two serves before sending back-to-back aces. FSU was forced to use both timeouts after the first four points in an effort to stop the onslaught as Tech jumped ahead, 4-0. FSU battled back to tie the score, 5-5, forcing a GT timeout. Three of the next four Tech points came from errors as the Jackets took advantage of sloppy play for a 9-7 lead. Both sides would trade sideouts until FSU went on a late 3-0 run to force match point. With their backs against the wall, the Jackets turned to Otene who delivered with a kill, followed by two digs in a rally that ended in Bertolino’s 20th kill of the night, giving GT match point. With the match on the line, it was Bertolino again, from Soares, to polish off another five-set victory. Bertolino finished the fifth set with three kills on .500 hitting and two aces without committing an error as Otene paced the offense with four kills.

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Up Next

Georgia Tech will wrap up the weekend against Miami (11-6, 4-3 ACC) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in O’Keefe Gymnasium.

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.   

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