Aug. 24, 2004
The Georgia Tech volleyball team, ranked 12th in the AVCA/CSTV Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, is one of just four teams to begin the 2004 season this weekend as it heads to Fort Collins, Colo. to take part in the prestigious NACWAA Classic. Georgia Tech will play top-ranked USC Friday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. ET while fifth-ranked Minnesota will face No. 11 Colorado State at 9:30 p.m. ET. On Saturday, the losers of the first two matches will play in the consolation match at 7 p.m. ET, while the winners play in the championship match at 9:30 p.m.
“Being invited to this tournament really signifies that our program is considered to be one of the top teams in the country and its a huge opportunity for us to measure ourselves against other top programs,” said head coach Bond Shymansky who begins his third season as the head coach at Georgia Tech.
Tech opens the tournament against the Women of Troy, the two-time defending national champions, who return three all-Americans to its lineup and enters the weekend with an NCAA-best 47 consecutive match win streak.
“No question our match against Southern California is going to be a tough challenge,” said Shymansky. “Probably the biggest challenge that players have to get passed is the fear of playing a team like Southern Cal. They have so many great players that they return this year and even the players that our new to their lineup are going to be fantastic athletes. What will be important for our team is to remember that they are just a volleyball team like we are and they will have the same anxities and nerves that any team does since it is the first match of a new season.”
“They have so many great players that they return and even the players that our new to the lineup are going to be fantastic athletes and they will rely heavily on their seniors to step up and anchor their team this weekend.to provide stability so our goal will be to try and shake them up and rattle them a little bit if we can.”
On Saturday, the Jackets will face either Minnesota, who advanced to the Final Four last season, or Colorado State, who has won five consecutive Mountain West Conference titles.
“Minnesota really played fantastic at the end of last season and will probably enter this weekend with a great deal of confidence while Colorado State returns every starter from last year’s team and is very difficult to play on its home court,” said Shymanksy. “Either opponent will be a challenge for us, but also a great chance for us to measure our lineup against some of the top teams in the country.”
Tech returns six starters to its lineup, including all-American outside hitters Lynnette Moster (Liberty, Ind.) and Lauren Sauer (Huntsville, Ala.). Also returning are Jayme Gergen (Topeka, Kansas), who finished 25th in the nation in hitting percentage (.372) last season, Laura Kuhn (Tiffin, Ohio), who was fifth on the team in kills (251) a year ago, Marisa Aston (Huntington Beach, Calif.), who last year led the team with 501 digs, and Jennifer Randall (Long Beach, Calif.) who was third on the team with 329 digs in 2003.
New to the lineup this year will be junior Lindsey Laband (Monument, Colo.), who will be the team’s starting setter, and freshman Nikki Kaminskas (Flagstaff, Ariz.) who will start as a middle blocker.
The Jackets are coming off of the most successful season in school history in which they compiled a school-record 34 wins, won the ACC Regular Season and advanced to a Region Final of the NCAA Tournament.
“I think the tournament this weekend will be some outstanding volleyball for fans to watch,” said Shymansky. “Certainly its a great chance for Georgia Tech to be in the spotlight with some big-name teams, which means a lot to our program in a number of ways. I know we’ll have a number of fans at the matches, both parents and alumni from the Colorado area, which should make it special for our players. In some ways, our team is probably the underdog, but in the past when Tech has been the underdog, we’ve risen to the occassion and played some great volleyball.”
Both of Tech’s matches this weekend can be heard on WREK radio on 91.1 FM and in streaming audio over the internet at www.wrek.org.