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No. 11 Yellow Jackets Drop Demon Deacons

WINSTON-SALEM, N.Cย โ€” No. 11 Georgia Tech volleyball (13-1, 4-0 ACC) won its first five-set affair of the season over Wake Forest (11-4, 2-2 ACC) on Sunday afternoon in Reynolds Gymnasium. A standout performance from junior outside hitter Bianca Bertolino and surgical execution from the service line propelled the Yellow Jackets to victory, coming out on top, 3-2 (25-22, 22-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-12). The triumph maintained their third hottest start in program history, trailing just the 2003 (23-0) and 1996 (16-0) White and Gold.

Bertolino carried the Jackets in both phases, leading the squad with a career-high 22 kills at a .352 clip, four aces, a career-best tying four blocks (three solo, one assisted) and 14 digs. The Argentinianโ€™s effort resulted in her fourth double double of the season.

Three donning the White and Gold played a key role in Techโ€™s defensive success as they each had five or more blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Anna Boezi exploded for a career-high eight blocks, freshman right side hitter Larissa Mendes tallied a personal best six blocks and junior middle blocker DeAndra Pierce tied her career mark of five blocks (two solo, three assisted). Mendes also pitched in nine kills, while a pair of seniors pitched in double-digit digs in outside hitter Tamara Otene (12 digs, seven kills) and libero Paola Pimentel (13 digs).

For the first time in her career, freshman setter Heloise Soares took the reins as primary setter with personal bests across the board in assists (34), digs (eight) and blocks (two), plus an ace. Fellow freshman setter Deren Cukur also spent some time at the helm, earning career highs of four assists and two digs on top of an ace. Joining the slew of career performances was junior outside hitter Leia Harper, tying her top mark of seven kills at a .333 clip.

Tech separated itself from Wake Forest from the service line and at the net with stark advantages in aces (11-3) and blocks (17-12).

How it Happened

After a pair of early streaks as Georgia Tech used a five-point run to move in front, 6-4, the first set went back and forth. Wake Forest would take the lead, moving ahead by as much as four at 15-11, but a pair of three-point bursts later pushed the White and Gold back in front, 19-18. The Yellow Jackets would ultimately rally, taking four of the final five points as a Bertolino kill secured a 25-22 set one win.

The second set remained nip and tuck as neither side managed to separate until the Demon Deacons strung together three points, resulting in a 16-12 lead. The Yellow Jackets would trim the advantage to just one, trailing 19-18, and later battled off two set points, but the Deacs would prevail in set two 25-22.

Georgia Tech did its damage in pairs early in the third set, moving on top, 12-9. Wake Forest used a couple of three-point rallies to knot the match at 13 and later take a 16-15 lead, but the White and Gold responded with four straight points of their own to boost back in front, 19-16. The Jackets staved off the Deacs from there, answering each swing as a Pierce ace sealed the set, 25-22, for a 2-1 match advantage.

Wake Forest took a lead at 3-2 that it would hang onto throughout the fourth set, but Tech continued to fight each push. Despite the Demon Deacons taking five points in six chances to move up to a 16-9 lead, the Yellow Jackets would use a four-point rally to pull within two, trailing 17-15. Georgia Tech would stay close up to a 21-18 deficit, but Wake Forest later closed out the set on top, 25-21.

Heading to their first fifth set of the season, the Jackets erupted, winning seven of the first eight points. The White and Gold pushed further up to an 11-5 advantage, and despite a late comeback by the Deacs to keep things interesting, a Mendes kill would ultimately seal the 15-12 triumph in set five for 3-2 match victory.

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Up Next

Georgia Tech will finish the tail end of its four-match road stint, heading to No. 8 Pitt (13-2, 4-0 ACC) on Friday for a 7 p.m. matchup in Pittsburgh before wrapping up the trip at Virginia (8-6, 1-3 ACC) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va.

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

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

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