Nov. 14, 2001
For the second time in school history, Georgia Tech’s (18-6, 12-4) volleyball team will head to the 22nd annual Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Tallahassee, Fla., as the No. 3 seed.
The Jackets are set to square off against the sixth seed, Maryland (11-13, 7-9) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. During the regular season, Tech won both matches against the Terrapins, including a 3-1 victory last week in College Park, Md.
“We have won 10 of our last 12 matches,” said head coach Shelton Collier. “In our last weekend of play our offensive efficiency was .425 against Virginia and .390 against Maryland, certainly one of the best back to back offensive performances in the history of the program. This momentum certainly allows us to have a lot of optimism as we head into the tournament.
“I have mixed feelings in opening with Maryland,” said head coach Shelton Collier. “We just beat them in our last match on their home court, which is positive. Hopefully we will play very motivated and not look past them, which I believe will be the case.”
Should the Jackets win, they will go on to play the winner of the North Carolina (20-6) -Clemson (10-16) match at 4 p.m. Saturday in the semifinals. The finals will be held on Sunday at 1 p.m. and will be televised live on Fox Sports Net South.
In other quarterfinal action, No. 4 Florida State (15-11) will take on No. 5 Wake Forest (18-10) at 11 a.m. on Friday, followed by No. 1 seeded Duke (21-3) playing at 1:30 p.m. against the winner of the NC State (6-20) -Virginia (7-17) match which is to be played Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Under Collier, the Jackets have a 10-9 record in the tournament. Only once before has Tech been the number three seed, and the Jackets reached the tournament finals, falling to Clemson in four games in 1997.
The Jackets have been led all season by all-ACC candidates Kyleen Bell (Rocklin, Calif.), Kele Eveland (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Maja Pachale (Schwerin, Germany) and Alexandra Preiss (Berlin, Germany). Bell and Pachale have combined for 47 percent of Tech’s offense, while Preiss leads the team in blocks per game (1.28) and hitting percentage (324). In addition, a recent major change to the Tech lineup has enabled Lauren Sauer (Huntsville, Ala.) and Lynnette Moster (Liberty, Ind.) to play a significant role in the Jacket’s offense.
“After really evaluating our team in early November, I felt we needed to make a couple of major changes in our lineup to have a chance to win the ACC tournament,” said Collier. “Our team and players have responded extremely well to these changes, and we are definitely a much stronger team with our new lineup. I will be excited to see how we will play with the system this weekend and I believe that our opponents will find a Georgia Tech team that is much more difficult to play. With five strong hitters, our setter Kele Eveland has really been able to run a well balanced high powered offense. She is getting the most out of each hitter now and we really have things working well with our offense.”
“Basically, I would say that our team has evolved from the “Ky and Maja” show to a strong, well-balanced team with a lot of players playing key roles in our success. This is critical in terms of winning a three-day tournament. One or two players can certainly carry a team for a match, but usually not three nights in a row. Winning three tough matches in the ACC tournament requires a division of labor with many players contributing in major roles. We believe we have this now and we are anxious to take our shot this weekend.”