Dec. 8, 2003
For the first time in school history, the No. 11 Georgia Tech volleyball team has advanced to the NCAA Regionals as one of 16 teams who remain in the tournament. The Jackets (33-3), the No. 7 seed in the tournament, will face the Golden Bears (25-6), the No. 10 seed in the tournament, Friday at 10 p.m. ET in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The winner of Friday’s contest is scheduled to play the winner Friday’s Hawaii/Illinois match Saturday at 12 a.m. ET, with the survivor advancing to the NCAA Final Four in Dallas, Texas.
“Obviously we are going into unchartered territory playing in the NCAA Sweet 16, but so is Cal. This is going to be a unique matchup in that two teams are in two new positions,” said head coach Bond Shymansky, who has led the Yellow Jackets to the NCAA Tournament in each of his seasons as the head coach. “It was great playing at home last week and our team showed a lot of passion and energy and they are starting to get a sense of what they are capable of and what lies ahead for them. “
The Jackets, who captured the 2003 Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title and have enjoyed their most successful season in school history, received one of 31 at-large bids to the tournament. Tech, who was ranked as high as four during the regular season, is making its seventh overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament and fourth consecutive showing. The Jackets hold an all-time record of 6-6 in the tournament.
The match marks the first meeting between Tech and California, who earned one of 31 automatic bids to the tournament and finished in third in the Pac-10 this season.
“With Cal, everybody talks about Mia Jerkov and she’s certainly a very dynamic and effective hitter, but they also have so many other weapons that they are going to be really tough to contain,” said Shymansky. “They are a very different style of volleyball than we are used to seeing. We are preparing in a number of ways, but the most important thing is for us to be clicking on offense on our side of the net.”
“This weekend is very similar to our matches earlier this season at Nebraska,” said Shymansky. “We basically have the challenge of playing a top-10 team on a neutral site and then turning around and play a top-2 team on their home court, and that’s exactly what we did in September, and we are excited about the opportunity to do that again this weekend.”