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No. 18 Jackets Edged by Fighting Irish

THE FLATS – Despite a season-high 30 kills by junior outside hitter Julia Bergmann, No. 18 Georgia Tech volleyball suffered its first loss of ACC play in a nail biter at the hands of Notre Dame (25-17, 25-22, 22-25, 17-25, 14-16) on Friday night in O’Keefe Gymnasium. The Jackets fell in five sets as the Fighting Irish rallied from two sets down to sneak away with the win.

In spite of the narrow defeat, Tech (11-2, 2-1 ACC) led Notre Dame (4-9, 1-2 ACC) in multiple categories on the night including kills (72-62), assists (69-54) and digs (80-59).

Bergmann’s 30 kills on the night came up one shy of her career record, 31 kills against Lipscomb in the first round of last season’s NCAA Tournament. On top of her inordinate collection of kills, the decorated outside hitter added 11 digs for her eighth double double of the year along with a pair of assists and block assists.

Joining Bergmann with notable season highs and double doubles on the night were senior setter Matti McKissock and freshman outside hitter Bianca Bertolino. McKissock piled up a season-high 56 assists to go with 10 digs and three kills for her third double double while Bertolino led the team with a career-high 21 digs along with 12 kills for her fifth double double to date. The third “Killer B,” senior right-side hitter Mariana Brambilla, picked up a double double of her own with 12 kills and 15 digs for her seventh of the kind this season.

How it Happened

Georgia Tech got off to a strong start in the first set after battling early, using an eight-point run to leap ahead 19-12. The Jackets took another four straight points soon after up to a 23-14 lead, cruising to a 25-17 first set victory.

The second set was a battle throughout as neither side managed to create more than a three-point advantage through the set’s entirety. Georgia Tech was streaky early on, using namely three separate three-point runs to climb ahead 14-12. Notre Dame responded with a four-point run of its own to take the lead, which was met with three subsequent three-point runs to move the Yellow Jackets ahead, 23-20. Despite the Fighting Irish evening up the tally with another run of their own, Bertolino and Brambilla came through with back-to-back kills to seal the second set for Tech, 25-22.

The Jackets and Irish traded near even blows once again in the third set as neither side separated by more than two points until the final point. The longest run of the set for either squad came in the beginning for Tech as the Yellow Jackets took three straight points to inch ahead, 3-2. From there, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech found themselves tied at 14 different score lines up to a 20-20 draw. The Fighting Irish took five of the next seven points to win the set, 25-22.

Tech started off hot in the fourth set, taking four of the first six points. Notre Dame took back the lead, but the Jackets remained in striking distance up to a 13-11 tally in favor of the Irish. Notre Dame caught fire from there, taking the next six points and creating a wide enough gap to come out on top in the set, 25-17

Down to the final set, the match came down to the wire. Notre Dame sped ahead to a 9-4 lead, but Tech never wavered, taking six of seven points shortly after to knot things up at 12 apiece. The two squads would end up at a deadlock at 13-13 and 14-14 before the Fighting Irish took the final two points to take the final set, 16-14, and pull off the upset.

Up Next

Georgia Tech awaits the No. 3 Louisville (13-0, 3-0 ACC) for a highly-anticipated clash in O’Keefe Gymnasium on Sunday at 1 p.m. The vaunted Cardinals will become the highest ranked team to visit The Flats in program history on record. Live coverage information is available here.

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